Ngāti Pūkenga - Maketu

The ancestor Pūkenga descends from the Mataatua Waka. His Uri married into Te Arawa and have occupied land in Te Arawa since migrating from Opotiki in the 17th century. Ngāti Pūkenga are one of the Ahi Kaa Iwi in the general Maketu area in our own right. Ngāti Pūkenga at Maketu collectively use Te Awhe Marae along with Ngāti Whakahemo, Ngāti Makino, Te Patuwai and Ngāti Pikiao. Our dead are burried at Maketu, our people still reside in Maketu as Pūkenga today.

The first photo was taken near Tokaparore looking towards Okurei.  The second photo is overlooking Little Waihi from one of Maketu’s ancient pa sites, known as Owhara. The escarpment on the right is Ohineahuru,beyond which is the Waewaetutuki north western land boundary. In the middle background at the far reaches of the Waihi Estuary is the Northern boundary of the Waewaetutuki land block. Bounded on the East by the Kaikokopu river and extends south to Paengaroa. As a result of there manaakitanga shown whilst helping to defend Maketu in the 1800’s, Ngāti Pūkenga ki Maketu was gifted the Waewaetutuki Land block as part of the “Paengaroa Settlement”.


Ngāti Pūkenga came into possession of this land at a Native Land Court sitting at Maketu on the 28th of February 1883. Whereas the court entered Ngāti Pūkenga people as registered owners of the said block. There were 28 original owners. The block was then surveyed and divided into 5 portions of approximately 65 hectares each. The neighboring consist of Ohineahuru to the north, Waipumuka, Ngahimutu and Te Rau O Te Huia to the west, Kaikokopu and Pongakawa rivers to the east, and Paengaroa to the South. Some of the descendants of these original owners are still living on the land to this day. There is also another block called Ki Te Raki in Paengaroa. In which Ngāti Pūkenga also have interests in.

Late days of March 1836 saw the Te Arawa people vacate Maketu and journey to Rotorua where they expected a planned attack from Te Waharoa. On Te Waharoa’s arrival in Tauranga, he instead decided to attack the Pa in Maketu. On the 29th of March 1836, the invasion began. Ngāti Pūkenga chiefs Te Nainai, Te Irohanga and about 50 warriors, plus a few of Te Arawa that stayed behind, were left to face the wrath of Te Waharoa and his comrades in arms of at least 1200 men. Ngāti Pūkenga were aware of the impending rage of Te Waharoa, as in earlier skirmishes, in alliance with Ngāti Maru, they caused the demise of a prominent chief, Te Wakaete, an acquaintance of Te Waharoa. Ngāti Pūkenga were found utterly wanting in that quality of caution, which was characteristic of these men, who met their ultimate fate defending Maketu.