Pōhutukawa seedlings a symbol of reconnection between Ngāti Toa and Ngāti Mahuta

By Te Ao - Māori News

Wellington-based iwi Ngāti Toa is preparing to restore its historic connection to Kāwhia Harbour in the Waikato region today.

Kaumātua from Ngāti Mahuta in Kāwhia are travelling south to Porirua, to present Pōhutukawa seedlings to each of the region's Ngāti Toa marae as a gesture of peace. 

The origins of the seedlings are significant as they come from an enormous tree at Takapūwāhia, a Ngāti Toa urupā in Kāwhia. One of the two marae being given seedlings is also named Takapūwāhia.

The move is in recognition of Ngāti Toa's whakapapa to the Kāwhia region, the iwi having moved south hundreds of years ago due to conflict.

Dr Taku Parai of Ngāti Toa says his iwi is ready for the historical reconnection. 

"One will go at our first and foremost marae in the Hongoeka in Plimmerton," he says.

"And the other will go to Takapūwahia (in Porirua).

"We're waiting with bated breath and with excitement in regards to this gift, this koha, and the excitement that's building around it today."