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Rotorua Weekender - 2021-11-26

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A lifeforce for protection

KAHU KI ROTORUA

This is a story regarding a revered stone that stands at the school of Horohoro below the grand mountain range of Te Horohoroinga o nga ringa o Kahumatamomoe as shared by kuia Hepora Raharuhi Young as told to her by her father Raharuhi Pururu. There was once a knowledgeable kuia named Hinengawari a woman of exceptional birth who descended from the tribes of Nga¯ ti Kearoa and Nga¯ ti Tuara. These tribes still occupy the lands of Horohoro – though they were not always united. Nga¯ ti Kearoa first came to these lands from Pokohu, near Tarawera, led by their tupuna Te Aokawhai. Nga¯ ti Tuara were located mostly at Tihi o Tonga and Tarewa Pounamu, but gradually over time marriages and unions were formed which brought these two people together as one. When the Nga¯ ti Kea and Tuara were as one people they occupied the lands from Horohoro to Patetere in the west. At the southern end of the Horohoro bluffs, there stood a once marvellous pa¯ that overlooked the path that veered off into the Waikato territory. If people wished, they could continue to follow the path down to the island of Kapiti. The path skirted the edge of the great forest and though there was a stronghold near it, the inhabitants were always wary of the many travellers because they did not know if they were friendly or hostile. Hinengawari then set off in search of a special rock and finding such a treasure imbued it with a lifeforce to protect her people. She named the rock after her knee in remembrance of the act where she knelt to breathe life into it. From that time it became sacred. For those who were aware of this act they would break off a twig or leaves to place at the base of the revered rock, by such an act the home tribe would know that the travellers in the area were friendly. If, however the travellers ignored paying their respects then there would be rain and great winds would rise and the area would be overcome with cold. These were the protective actions of Hinengawari alerting her people that intruders had entered their domain. The tribe would rush out to confront them. In 1937 the great chief Raharuhi Pururu thought to move the revered stone so that it would be closer to its people, standing as a reminder of the supernatural powers of their kuia Hinengawari. Thank you to Nga¯ ti Kearoa and Nga¯ ti Tuara for sharing their story

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