who are we?...
Ko Mauao te Maunga
Ko Tauranga te Moana
Ko Mataatua te Waka
Ko Ngaiterangi te Iwi
Ko Ngati He te Hapu
Ko Maungatapu te Marae Tihei Mauriora
Nga Tohora o Rangataua
Long ago, a whale and her baby cruised into the harbour through the entrance past Maunganui and Matakana. They swam up the harbour past Te Papa and Matapihi toward Maungatapu. They found the water was getting more shallow and they turned round to return to deeper water. Unfortunately, they turned into the Rangataua arm of the harbour between Matapihi and Maungatapu. They knew which direction the ocean lay. They could hear the waves pounding on the beach at Omanu and Papamoa. They struggled over the mudflats of Rangataua, trying to find a way back to the open sea. They stopped at Karikari on the eastern shore of Rangataua. There was a spring there and they drank from it, because they were tired and thirsty. They did not know that this spring was magic. All life departed from the body of the mother whale and she was fixed there, grazing northward out to sea. The baby nestled beside the mother and was also fixed there, as the smaller hill beside Mangatawa on the Papamoa side.
The father whale came into Tauranga Moana looking for his family. He followed them up the harbour and he too struggled across the Rangataua mudflats and drank at the spring at Karikari. He was also transformed into the high rounded hill south of Mangatawa that is called Kopukairoa.
There is still a spring at Karikari and it is called Te Waiuu o te Tohora, the milk of the whale. It is at the base of Mangatawa near the shore of Rangataua. Sometimes the water flowing from it is quite white, so it must be the milk from the whale, which rests there as a guardian of the people of Te Arawa and Tauranga Moana.
Nga Papaka o Rangataua
He paruparu te kai
He taniwha nga tangata
In days gone by, the people who lived around the shores of Rangataua moana were so numerous, they were likened to the many crab (papaka) that inhabited the mud flats of the bay. They consumed vast quantities of periwinkles (titiko) that can also be found on these mudflats. The people are proud of their warrior heritage and can be traced to the various hapu that still reside within the Rangataua area. Nga Potiki of Tamapahore and Tahuwhakatiki marae, Ngai Tukairangi and Ngati Tapu of the Matapihi Peninsula, Ngati He from Maungatapu, Ngati Pukenga of Whetu Marae, and even Te Waitaha a Hei from Te Arawa are associated with this important area well known as a food basket for the people.
The many Orchards and farms surrounding Rangataua moana are a continuation of this food basket tradition, with Ranginui 12 and Ngapeke Orchards outstanding contributors.