Alexander Turnbull Library
NZ Tree Register Number:
Not Currently Registered
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Kawhia is the citadel of Tainui identity, history and culture. It was here that the Tainui canoe finally came to rest after voyaging from Hawaiki. The canoe is interred at Maketu Marae, immediately to the south and behind the marae buildings at Te Tumu of Tainui (the mooring place of Tainui) about half a kilometre away from where the canoe first landed.
According to tradition, the Tainui canoe was hauled ashore at the end of its voyage from Hawaiki, and where tribal historians assert the canoe still rests (taken from Maketu Marae, Kawhia).
When the canoe first arrived at Kawhia it was moored to a pōhutukawa tree.
Te Herenga refers to the grove of pōhutukawa on the inlet at Kawhia harbour (herenga waka translates as the place where the canoe is moored).
Within the grove Te Herenga are two pōhutukawa of particular significance:
Te Papa o Karewa; the largest of the trees present when the Tainui canoe moored at Kawhia some 800 years ago
Tangi Te Korowhiti; the tree to which the Tainui canoe moored at its final destination on the Kawhia coast. Tangi te Korowhiti is in the rohe of Ngati Hikairo who have mana whenua. This tree retains important spiritual and cultural significance for Tainui.
Tainui Waka settled the lands of the Tainui Waka rohe. Over time those same uri whakaheke begat the tribes of Waikato, Hauraki, Maniapoto and Raukawa. That is land from as far south as the King Country and Mookau in North Taranaki to Auckland in the North, and east to Waikato and Hauraki/Coromandel. Tainui are recognised numerically as the largest tangata whenua of Aotearoa.
Ko Mookau ki runga
Ko Taamaki ki raro
Ko Mangatoatoa ki waenganui.
Pare Hauraki, Pare Waikato
(Taken from Our Story - Waikato Tainui).
This tree remains as one of the most culturally significant living taonga for all New Zealand.
Many thanks for Tom Moke from Maketu marae for his help in presenting this tree for consideration in the Tree of the Year program.
I te taenga o Tainui ki Kawhia i tana heke roa i Hawaiki, ka tōia te waka ki uta, ka herea ki tētahi rākau pōhutukawa, ko Tangi-te-korowhiti te ingoa.
The Sacred Pohutukawa Tangi Te Korowhiti in 2022. Photo credit: Jacqueline Margetts