Our Origins


The eponymous ancestor of the Patukirikiri tribe is ‘Kapetaua.’ He was born in Auckland at Oue Pa (Duders Beach). His father was Tawake, a descendant of the Ngatokimatawhaorua waka of Northland while his mother Te Auwhangarahi was a local woman of Wai o Hua and Te Uri o Pou descent.

In his youth, Kapetaua was treated harshly by his brother-in-law Tarakumukumu which resulted in the name “Te Toka a Kapetaua” (The rock of Kapetaua), being applied to what is now more commonly referred to as ‘Bean Rock’ in the Waitemataa Harbour. Reaching adulthood Kapetaua concluded his insult by taking possession of his brother-in-laws Wai-o-Hua domains in Auckland, being at the time, Waiheke Island, Orakei, Kohimarama and Mahurangi.

After residing at most of these places as traditionally practised in those days, he decided to migrate to the Moehau region and establish himself there so leaving some of his people as kaitiaki in their Auckland areas, he crossed over to Moehau and using the famed Ngati Huarere cultivation ‘Te Rakato” as an excuse, he forced the local Ngati Huarere from their lands at ‘Kapanga’ (Coromandel) and took possession of the area.

Later his descendants began to intermarry with the newly arrived Marutuahu people, resulting in strong whakapapa links being forged with Ngati Tamatera, while in Auckland his people formed these same whanau links with Ngati Paoa, which new whanau bonds directly involved them in the struggle between Ngati Huarere and the Marutuahu people where the latter were victorious some four generations later. This hard earned victory however persuaded many Patukirikiri descendants to accept their Marutuahu whakapapa and heritage as their principal bloodline.

During this time of unrest, one battle of significance for the descendants of Kapetaua occurred when Ngati Huarere launched a sneak attack against them at Motutapere (Peters Island) in the Coromandel Harbour in the early hours before dawn however their arrival on the shingle beach was heard by two women of senior rank who went to investigate and recognising the danger raised the alarm, which signalled their immediate doom. With the Island’s inhabitants now alerted the invaders fled but were quickly overtaken and destroyed near the centre of the current Coromandel township.

This single event and the importance of the two slain women saw the name “Patu-Kirikiri” (slain on shingle) applied to all the descendants of Kapetaua.

During the time of Pita Taurua, his siblings expressed a desire to migrate and reconnect with their Tawake links in Northland, which Pita as the Patukirikiri paramount chief accepted, however just prior to their departure to Taitokerau he announced to them all;

“Naku anake i konei, kei kora ta koutou” – Here belongs to me, there belongs to you.

…meaning he would not challenge their rights or interests in Northland and they should not challenge his in Hauraki and Auckland, and with this the whanau separated and went their separate ways.

Despite sharing the same whakapapa and a common history, both branches of Patukirikiri now reside in their respective tribal regions each with its shared common histories, and now each with its own separate histories, and each with its own respective mana but more importantly, each with its own autonomy as Patukirikiri.