The eponymous ancestor Ruapuha was the son of Kahuitangaroa and the grandson of Kinohaku and Tuirirangi. Ruapuha and his brother’s Koromiko and Matamaru derived the mana of the land at Mangapu through their uncle, Tumarouru who had relocated to Mokau.
Ruapuha’s first wife, Paretonga died giving birth to their child Ikapaungatahi. The infant was fed on kahikatea berries from a tree at Mataparu, by his grandfather Kahuitangaroa.
Ruapuha earned a reputation as being a great provider of food and held mana over the land and streams from Rereamanu, Waitomo and Tumutumu. Pā tuna were built on the Mangapu, Mangaokewa, Mangamutu, Mangaorongo, Mangarapa and Otuata streams. Along the river banks and flats grew the kahikatea forests and the name Te Nehenehenui was given to the areas where they grew.
Ruapuha’s hapū sheltered Raukawa at the first Rereamanu and Pikihuia Marae and following the battle of Matakitaki, Tawhiao and his people were also sheltered in the area. It was at one of these marae that Ruapuha was given the name Takiwai, having been bitten by mosquitos while working in the marae.
Ruapuha married Waiata and begat Te Arataura, Haumia and Parekauae. The union of Ruapuha and Waiata allowed the people from Waitomo to snare birds, cultivate maize, and grow orchards on the river flats. The different hapū of the area were given land which later could be sold. The hapū involved were Huiao, Kinohaku, Uekaha, Urunumia, Rora, Hinekino, and Peehi.
Ruapuha is buried at Te Kohanga at Rereamanu.
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Photo: Rangiahua, the pā site of Uekaha – North of the Waitomo Caves Domain