Pouroto Ngaropo / Source - Megan Blennerhassett
Mataatua historian Pouroto Ngaropo claims that the Tūpuna Maunga Authority of Tamaki Makaurau is planning to make Te Ahi Kā-a-Rakataura the sole name of Ōwairaka (Mt Albert).
A group from Whakatāne iwi accompanied Ngaropo when they came to Ōwairaka Friday afternoon. Ngāti Awa ki te Awa o te Atua oppose the name change, and the lack of consultation surrounding approved earthworks, which will see the 345 foreign rākau cut down and replaced with native seedlings.
Ōwairaka maunga / Source - File
Ngaropo claims that the earthworks, are a smokescreen to distract public attention from the Tūpuna Maunga Authority’s name change plans.
“If you remove the name Wairaka, my tipuna wahine’s name from this maunga, will you then go so far as to remove my ancestral name Rangitoto which comes from the Te Arawa waka?”
Tamaki Makaurau has many ancestral names including Tamaki Herenga Waka, which refers to the converging of the countless waka and navigators that explored Aotearoa in ancient times. Ngaropo recounted the effect that his Te Arawa ancestors had on the region.
Rangitoto Island / Source - Flickr
Rangitoto Island’s full name is Te Rangi-i-totongia-ai-te-ihu-o-Tamatekapua (the day that Tamatekapua had a bloody nose). It was named after a fight between Tamatekapua, captain of the Te Arawa voyaging canoe, and the Tainui canoe captain, Hoturoa.
The maunga was given the name Wairaka to commemorate the chieftainess of the same name who built her seat of power on the peak about 800 years ago.
Wairaka’s people lived alongside the Tutumaio people who were already living there at the time of Wairaka’s arrival.
It is for this reason that Ngaropo sees this as an “Attempt to rewrite history.”
The Tūpuna Maunga Authority of Tāmaki Makaurau was given power by the government to co-govern the Tūpuna Maunga.
It has representatives from Tāmaki Makaurau Mana Whenua, Auckland Council, and a crown agent. Paul Majurey, of Marutūāhu is the chair.
Te Ao reached out to the Authority and are awaiting a response.