The story of Pacific exploration shows many of us are migrants to this land.
We explored. We returned. We settled...
in this land the first inhabitants called Aotearoa, and on this coast, Tairāwhiti, upon which the sun shines across the water.
It's a story we continue to explore in ways that bring new meaning and understanding.
Our region is rich in navigating history. From the story of Maui whose waka beached on Hikurangi as he fished up the North Island and from whom all Ngati Porou descend, and Paikea who was brought to these shores on the back of a whale… to Pāoa, Kiwa and Maia – extraordinary Pacific voyagers and navigators whose mātauranga (knowledge), innovation and non-instrument navigation prowess enabled them to reach and settle in Aotearoa over 600 years ago.
Tairawhiti is also home to that pivotal moment our two cultures met in a series of encounters between James Cook, Tupaia and the crew of the Endeavour and tangata whenua in 1769.
The East Coast region is home to several related tribes – Ngāti Porou in the north, and four that dominate the Tūranganui-a-Kiwa area – Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri and Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti. Their ancestors include Porourangi, after whom Ngāti Porou was named; Kiwa, who named the region; Pāoa, who explored the hinterland; Pāoa’s sister Hinehākirirangi, who brought the kūmara (sweet potato) from Hawaiki and planted them near Manutūke; and, eight generations after Pāoa and Kiwa, the paramount chief Ruapani.
Learn more about the extraordinary voyaging traditions and cultures of Te Moana Nui a Kiwa (the Pacific) important to Tūranga Gisborne and the many stories of arrival in Tairawhiti.
The word ‘Tupapa’ describes the place where the iwi (indigenous peoples) of Turanganui-a-Kiwa (Gisborne) connect through shared history and ancestry. Meet our region’s people, and discover the stories of their ancestors' journeys to and experiences of this place.