Te Ruahikihiki

Te Ruahikihiki, the Ngāti Kurī chief, was the son of Manawa-i-waho (Manawaiwaho). His daughter Ritoka (from his wife Hikaiti) wed Kaweriri, son of Tūrakautahi (the Ngāi Tūhaitara chief).

After the death of Te Rakitaurewa, he married his widow Te Aotaurewa, sister to his wife Hikaiti. Hikaiti became insanely jealous at this new alliance and flung herself off the cliffs of Whakamoa.

Te Aotaurewa’s son by Te Ruahikihiki, Taoka, was a great fighting chief in his own right and had many adventures further south in Ōtākou in some of the final battles with Ngāti Māmoe.

In the move south from Kaikōura of Ngāti Kurī, Te Ruahikihiki claimed the lake Waihora for his people. Reports of the rich food resources to be found further south had reached the chiefs living in Kaikōura. It is said in some stories that the chiefs agreed between them the distribution of lands and in other stories that they were charged to go to these locations by Tūrakautahi to set up their kāika (villages).

Teone Tāre Tikao relates in his book Tikao Talks, that Te Ruahikihiki asked for details of Waihora and on finding about the inaka (whitebait), pātiki (flounder) and tuna (eel) resources to be found there said:

Taku Kāika ko Ōrariki.

Translation: Ōrariki my place.

Te Ruahikihiki established himself with his son-in-law Kaweriri at Taumutu on the lake. Today descendants of Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki can be found at Taumutu and further south in Otago.


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