(Excerpt taken from the Maata Te Taiawatea Reunion Book 1986)
There is no ancestor called Te Pahipoto, the name of the tribe has to do with an event rather than with a particular tipuna but nobody seems to remember it.
A Paahi is a large sea-going canoe so that Pahipoto could have referred to a short sea-going canoe that some of the members of the tribe either bought into the area or used in the Mataatua region. The term, pahipoto, can mean an expedition which is peaceful or warlike so that a pahipoto is a short expedition. From this meaning comes another which is listed in Williams dictionary, a paahi can be a company of travellers, an ope or manuhiri, hence a pahipoto is a small group of travellers.
Another related meaning is 'Temporary camping place' and yet another meaning is 'section of a tribe'. All of these meanings are related and suggest that the founders of the tribe may have come from somewhere else, from a land of great mana or from a stock of powerful seers, for why else would they want to advertise their status as outsiders unless it meant increased mana.
Whatever the origins of the tribe, the fact is that the group was firmly established in the 1860's when writers began to write about the Bay of Plenty region.
NGATI PAHIPOTO TE HAPU
Ngati Pahipoto has been described as "Te Iwi tirare kai pahao kai nei" - "The tribe that collects food and gathers it by the netfull".
This expression which is remembered in the patere (Chant) Ko Te Tii is referring to the industrious nature of these people based on a reputation for providing food on a scale that was memorable.
In many aspects the modern Ngati Pahipoto is still a "Iwi tirare kai , iwi pahao kai".
If the question, "Who is Pahipoto" is asked , one can try to answer in various ways. It is certainly one of the principa tribes of the Ngati Awa Confederation of tribes and in the past was known and recognised beyond Ngati Awa's borders, for example, it is the subject of a manawera composed by Tauwhao of Motiti Te Whanau Island , Tauranga, again in a Whakatohea manawawera, Pahipoto is mentioned in these lines;
"Ka kapi nga putahi kai a Pahipoto a Te Rangikawehea"
"Covered completely are the food plantations of Pahipoto of Te Rangikawehea"
To be mentioned at all in the waiata of an outside tribe is a sure indication of a degree of mana. Pahipoto is not an ancestral name, like Kokohinau, it probably came frome an incident the tribe was involved in.
Though the Koko bird sitting on a branch of a Hinau tree is depicted as the emblem of Kokohinau Marae, it is not believed that this is how it came to be so named.
It is believed that it was named after the type of spade (Ko, Ho) used by the Pahipoto people. Maire was the most commonly used wood for spades in those days, but the Pahipoto people chose to use the Hinau tree for their implements and were crticised and ridiculed for it , they became the target for the saying "Te Pahipoto me a ratau Ko Hinau" "Pahipoto and their spades made of Hinau". Hence through this saying the name stuck and their marae became Kokohinau.
RUATAUPARE TE TIPUNA WHARE
Ruataupare is the name of the ancestrsal meeting house situated at Kokohinau marae. Ruataupare a chieftaines in her own right was a descendant of Porourangi eponymous ancestor of the Ngati Porou tribes.
There are two versions as to how this ancestral meeting house came to be named after Ruataupare.
In the 1800's, the original Ruataupare once stood at Puketapu in the vicinity of the Te Teko Golf Course. There the tribe lived , while further inland at Rakeihopukia lived two other local iwi, Nga Maihi of Tuteao Marae and Ngai Tamaoki of the Ruaihona Marae.
Te Rangikawehea who was chief of the Pahipoto tribe at the time, married two sisters from Ngati Porou and it is understood that the name Ruataupare came with a carved house which was probably given as a marriage gift by Ngati Porou to Te Rangikawehea and his Pahipoto iwi.
Another version mentions where a canoe was presented by Te Whanau O Ruataupare to the Pahipoto people in recognition of their kinship ties and the fact also that the Pahipoto people relied on canoe transport for what they were famed for at the time, eeling. The Rangitaiki Plains were mainly swamp then, when squabbles over the canoe began it was decided to stop such disharmony by using the canoe in some other way, according to the stories it was incorporated into the meeting house, giving rise to the name;
O Ruataupare, the building at Kokohinau, was completed in 1882. The carvings were done under the supervision of expert carvers from among Te Kooti's followers, the same carvers who were responsible for building other meeting houses known as Te Kooti's houses. Te Tokanga-Nui-A-Noho at Te Kuiti is one such meeting house and is almost identical to Ruataupare in size and appearance. As is customary with Te Kooti, at the completion of the meeting house he laid the following prediction (Kupu Whakaari);
Tenei awa a Rangitaiki ka ki i te tangata
Ka pai tenei whare, heoi ano te raruraru
Ka papaki tetahi pakitara ki tetahi pakitara
Te tungaroa ki te whatitoa
Nga One o tenei whare he kirikiri, he pungapunga, he tataramoa, He One Matua
Rangitaiki will be densely populated
What a beautiful house, but the trouble is
One wall will clash with the other and the back wall with the front door
The foundations of this house are built on sand, gravel, bush lawyer and on Rich Virgin Soil.
This prophecy revealed that though the building was a fine one, its inhabitants would be a divided people.
An adherent of Te Kooti's Ringatu Faith said that to those who followed his faith there was another meaning in the prohecy which could well cancel out the division if only the people would study the last section of the statement "The foundations are built on sand, gravel, bush lawyer an on rich virgin soil" and apply to it the teachings from the Parable of the Sower, by following and nuturing the faith whith which the wharenui was built, that is, the Ringatu Faith, then they should by united.
Apparently the most notable division was caused by the emergence of Rua The Prohpet who came with his own Mihaia faith, and took some of the Ringatu followers away from their own faith. Nevertheless, a strong supporter of Te Kooti's faith resisted the temptation to join Rua who had set up his commune just behind Ruatuapare. She kept the Ringatu services alive in Ruataupare, getting support from Te Kooti's followers from outer areas, thus retaining the faith which is stronger as ever in Ruataupare and at Kokohinau marae.