TE TUAKIRI O TE WHENUA
Ko Pirongia, ko Karioi ngaa maunga,
Ko Opotoru, Waikato, Waipaa me Waitetuna ngaa awa
Ko Tainui te waka
Ko Aramiro, Te Papa o Rotu me Oomaero ngaa iwi kainga
Ko Maahanga te tupuna.
This it the geographical identity of Ngaati Maahanga descendants that identifies their connection to the land, rivers and ancestors.
The Rotokauri area was settled by members of the Tainui waka which made landfall at Kawhia Harbour around 1350. Ngaati Maahanga are the descendants of Maahanga.
Maahanga is said to have been the first chief to penetrate and settle the inner valleys of the Waipaa and Waikato. There, he scaled and climbed atop Paewhenua (now Pirongia) and claimed his boundary between Whaingaroa in the west and Waikato in the east.
The people who occupied the land travelled between the coastal and inland villages depending on the seasons for cultivations, bird hunting, medicinal purposes among other things. The people would traverse the land using many 'ara noa' (Neutral pathways of peace). Ara noa were set up for trade and peaceful pursuits and war parties were prohibited from using these tracks.
Rotokauri was a strategic meeting place in the early histories of the Waikato people where people would meet before making their way to areas such as Mangaharakeke, Pukete, Kirikiriroa, Matamata in the east and Whatawhata, Pirongia, Waingaro, Karakariki, Whaingaroa, Aotea and Kawhia in the west.
Te Ara o Te Karoro / Peaceful pathways
The ancient track named “Te Ara o Karoro – The Pathway of Karoro” is located near the Rotokauri Lake. It is an ancient walking track of the Ngaati Maahanga collective. The area located between Tuhikaramea and Rotokauri became known as “Te Paa Tangata – The Fortress of People/Prosperity”.