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Great Māori migration waka
Commander Toroa
Iwi Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngā Puhi, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pūkenga

In Māori tradition, Mataatua was one of the great voyaging canoes by which Polynesians migrated to New Zealand. Māori traditions say that the Mataatua was initially sent from Hawaiki to bring supplies of kūmara to Māori settlements in New Zealand. The Mataatua was captained by Toroa, accompanied by his brother, Puhi; his sister, Muriwai; his son, Ruaihona; and daughter, Wairaka.


Māori migration


Bay of Plenty settlement

The Mataatua first landed at Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty, approximately 700 years ago. According to various accounts, at some point a dispute arose between Toroa and Puhi over food resources. As a result, Puhi left on the Mataatua with most of its crew to travel further north, while Toroa, Tāneatua, Muriwai and their immediate families remained in the Bay of Plenty. Those that stayed behind settled and intermixed with previously established Māori tribes in the region. People from Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa, Te Whakatōhea, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and the Tauranga Moana tribes can trace their origins to this settlement.

Northland settlement

Many accounts say that, from the Bay of Plenty, Puhi travelled northward in the Mataatua, eventually reaching the Bay of Islands in present-day Northland. The Ngā Puhi people can trace their origins to this settlement. Tribes in both the Bay of Plenty and Northland agree that the final resting place of the Mataatua was at Tākou Bay in the Bay of Islands.


Many iwi can trace their origins to ancestors on the Mataatua canoe. Tribes in both the Bay of Plenty and Northland maintain strong ties, and a reunion was held in 1986. A replica of the Mataatua rests at the Mataatua Reserve in Whakatane.

See also



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