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Mahurangi Harbour Māori History

Mahurangi Harbour Māori History 


The name Mahurangi belongs to the sea stack (island) off the mouths of the Waiwera and Puhio Rivers and to the Pa that once crowned its summit. Much speculation surrounds the meaning of Mahurangi but it likely its “rock pointing to the sky”. The name Mahurangi eventually transferred to the wider harbour area from Puhio up to Kawau and was used by both Māori and pakeha settlers. Other terms commonly used were Waihe which referenced the main body of the harbour and Kiahou for the lower harbour stretch. 


Te Kawerau was the main iwi in the area however, they had a perilous time with inland attacks from Ngāti Whatua and coastal attacks from the Hauraki Gulf by Ngāti Pāoa. Given this nearly every headland and promontory shows evidence of fortifications which would have occurred over generations. The mahurangi’s location close to the isthmus of Tāmaki Makaurau and its extensive trading ports and the fact invading war parties had to paddle waka past the settlements was another reason for the extensive fortifications. Being only a day’s paddle from Auckland meant that waka parties often camped the night in the area. Aside from the fortification on now eroded sea stack off the Puhoi River Mouth there was a prominent fortified pa on the northern end of Saddle Island stretching up to the highest point. Motuora Island has an extensive fortified pa at the southern end of the island with numerous diggings now buried under the vegetation. 


The sheltered harbour provided an ideal location for settlement and with the abundant seafood and lush forest behind villages were common throughout the harbour. The climate was also favourable for growing crops such as kumara however the soils were poor hence fern root was a more staple starch food. Evidence of terraced gardens has been uncovered throughout the harbour. The final skirmish for the Te Kawerau iwi was against Ngāpuh who with their pakeha weapons obliterated those who they came face to face with. 



Ain't no office better than the Hauraki Gulf 💯☀️
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Team New Zealand @emiratesteamnz training on the Hauraki Gulf yesterday. They tried to keep up with our kayaks but I think they had the wrong foils on 😂
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Motunau Bay, Ponui Island. Everyone enjoying an afternoon swim at high tide on the Autumn Equinox, Wed, 20 Mar 2024.
For our tinier Auckland Sea Kayaks whanau | here's an epic colouring in sheet to celebrate Te Ika o te Tau - Fish of the Year competition! Complete this comp and be in to win some amazing prizes including:
- A sunset kayak to Rangitoto for two 
- An eDNA kit or eRangers card game kindly donated by Wilderlab 
- A family pass aboard Perfect Day (NTL) kindly donated by @divetutukaka 
- A mask and snorkel kindly donated by @wettie.spearfishing 
- One of two Marine Invaders card games kindly donated by Marine Invaders 
- A Doon River Fishy Pin kindly donated by @doonriver 
- An @emr_nz  goodie bag, and more!

Tag us and EMR so we can see your masterpieces  #teikaotetau2024 😎
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