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East bank, Whanganui City

Pūtiki Marae

Whare:  Te Paku-o-te-rangi
Whare Kai:  Aotea
Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngāti Tūpoho

Pūtiki was renown in earlier times, in particular for its famous use of the type of flax called ‘Wharanui.’ This was used for fine weaving works.  It was the binding of an eponymous ancestor’s top knot (pūtiki) with the soft, pliable flax known as ‘Wharanui’ that gave this marae its name.


Somme Parade, Aramoho, Whanganui

Te Ao Hou Marae

Whare:  Te Puawaitanga
Whare Kai:  Te Ao Marama
Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngāti Tūpoho

Once standing on the lower river flat below it, this marae like many other along the Whanganui River was moved out of the periodic flood zone to higher ground.  It boasts a kōhanga reo, kaumātua flats, large meeting house and dining room.  It is geared up to meet the demands of a growing tribe and the name of the wharenui, Te Puawaitanga – To Flourish, is reflective of this.

Kaiwhaiki Road, 18 km north of Whanganui

Kaiwhaiki Marae

Whare:  Te Kiritahi
Whare Kai:  Te Pōringi
Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngā Paerangi

Kaiwhaiki is one of the largest marae settlements in New Zealand with nearly 50 households still occupied today.  In earlier times, Kaiwhaiki maintained strong relationships with neigbouring Marae Pungarehu and Parikino and the descendants of these marae reflect strongly the close connections of the 19th and 20th Century. 

Taranaki prophets, Tohu Kākahi and Te Whiti o Rongomai had an abundance of followers from Kaiwhaiki and the name of the wharenui ‘Whakahāwea’  comes from the saying “Kaua e whakahāwea ngā mahi a Tohu rāua ko Te Whiti – Thou shalt not despise of the teachings of Tohu and Te Whiti.  Another house was erected to its side and the joining of these two houses became known as ‘Te Kiritahi – The Joining of Skins.’


North of Kaiwhaiki Marae


Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngā Paerangi

Kuaomoa was once one of the bigger river settlements along the banks of the Whanganui River. One might conclude the name ‘Kuao – young’ ‘Moa – Extinct Bird’ to make light of this marae as a training ground for young ‘moa’ or perhaps more an indication of the prolific birdlife and food resource this marae had in earlier times.

There is all but a hunters shack that stands at this site today, but the wairua of the people who once lived there until as late as the 1950’s still remains whilst some descendants still live to tell stories.

Across the river, stands  Kemp’s Pole, a significant site with the remains of an urupā still to be seen.  With cautiousness and respect, this place of significance sheds insight in to what once stood there and its purpose.

Te Mataikai – Kemp’s Pole

A once thriving place on a bend of the river strategically placed to take advantage of river access, the hills for hunting and the tidal waters to paddle out to the sea and return.  Referred to today more commonly as Kemp’s Pole stand’s one of four pou (poles) with the one still standing here today being the southern most pole.  It’s purpose was to put out a clear message that no more māori land was to be alienated.  Sadly the erection of these pou were unsuccesful in stopping the sale of māori land however seeing it today as it stood in its time sheds light in to the challenges the people of the place once experienced.


Whanganui River Road, 22 km north of Whanganui

Pungarehu Marae

Whare:  Maranganui
Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngāti Tūera

The first marae along the Whanganui River to be seen upon descent from the Gentle Annie is Pungarehu. The 1904 flood swept away the original house that once stood on the lower river flat, but like Te Ao Hou and others, the whare ‘Maranganui’ was rebuilt on the upper flood outside of the flood zone.  Once a heavy populated settlement, now stands two new homes on site, testimony perhaps to the desire of its descendants to return home.


Whanganui River Road, 24 km north of Whanganui

Parikino Marae

Whare:  Te Aroha & Te Wharewhiti
Whare Kai:  Manaakitia
Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngāti Hinearo and Ngāti Tūera

The original marae once stood across the other side of the river and moved across to the eastern bank in the year 1870.  The land that the marae stands on today is ‘Kaitangata’ meaning ‘Kai – Food ‘Tangata – People.’ It was named so since it had an abundance of māra (gardens) that fed the masses.  Now known as ‘Parikino – Treacherous Cliffs’ the name lends warning to the high cliffs of the western bank where the marae once stood, keeping its people safe on the eastern side of the river.


Whanganui River Road, 36 km north of Whanganui

Atene Marae

Whare:  Te Rangi-i-heke-iho
Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngāti Hineoneone

Atene marae at times goes into hibernation, where the whare Te Rangi-i-heke-iho stands with humility.  The whare built at the Massey University Marae in Palmerston drew inspiration from the design of the house that stands here.  In addition, stories are told that it was Kupe’s Mokomoko (Guardian’s) that spliced through the western river bank redirecting the course of the Whanganui River.

Not far up the road, a short distance north of the marae is the Atene Skyline Walkway.  It is definately worth the hike if you want to appreciate the vast natural heritage.


Whanganui River Road, 47 km north of Whanganui

Koriniti Marae

Whare:  Te Waiherehere & Poutama
Whare Kai:  Pāmoana
Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngāti Pāmoana

Pāmoana is the eponymous ancestor by which the descendants of Ngāti Pāmoana derive.  Although he was of Taranaki descent, he married the grand daughter of a prominent chief named Tauira.  His acceptance by the people of the area led him and his wife to settle where Koriniti stands today.  Originally called Ōtūkōpiri, like many other marae, the influence of christianity upon the peoples of the Whanganui River led to the name being change to ‘Koriniti – Corinth.’


Whanganui River Road, 55 km north of Whanganui

Matahiwi Marae

Whare:  Taanewai
Whare Kai:  Ohotu
Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngāti Poutama-nui-a-Awa

Like other marae, the descendants of Matahiwi orignally settled on the western bank of Hikurangi.  There now stands a shop visible to the main road that visitors can call in to.  As well as stocking up on food, it’s a great place to meet the owners, descendants of the area who might be able to share in a little knowledge about Matahiwi.

To add, about a kilometre up the road is the Kawana Flour Mill re-erected by the Whanganui Historical Society for those passing by to see.


Whanganui River Road, 61 km north of Whanganui

Ranana Marae

Whare:  Te Morehu
Whare Kai:  Ruaka
Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngāti Ruaka

Ranana is the transliterated word for ‘London.’ Named by a prominent chief whose daughter was to be called ‘Wikitōria – Victoria’ queen of ‘Ranana – London.’

The hapū here descend from Ruaka, wife of Tamakehu whom begat 3 children now recognised as the guardians of the Whanganui River. Tongariro to Retaruke was given to Hinengākau to watch over, while the middle section was given to Tamaūpoko, the eldest child.  Tupoho is recognised to guard the reaches between Matahiwi and Pūtiki of whom descendants of the lower river marae descend from.


Whanganui River Road, 68 km north of Whanganui

Patiarero Marae – Jerusalem

Whare:  Whiritaunoka
Whare Kai:  Morikaunui
Iwi:  Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngāti Hau

More commonly known as Hiruharama today, Patiārero is the name this area was originally known by.  Hiruharama – Jerusalem has the most beautiful Catholic Church that still stands today. With the watchful eyes of the Sisters of Compassion (Nuns) this place is very much a must stop and see place.  As beautiful as its reflection in the water, is this rare scene of beauty and majesty, an insight in to the 19th and 20th century with the collaboration of Christianity and Māori.


Whanganui River Road, 79 km north of Whanganui

Pipiriki Marae

Whare:  Pire Kiore
Iwi:  Te Ātihaunui-ā-Paparangi
Hapū:  Ngāti Kurawatia

This marae sits amongst a once thriving community of river users with a panoramic view of the river as it meanders its way out to the sea.  Not as busy today as it was in the 19th century, it’s still a central point for a number of tourism operators.  With locals Josephine and Kenneth Haworth running a tourism Enterprise of their own, as did their forebearers are they upholding the mana of the people that once kept the place humming.


Upstream of Pipiriki Marae

Tieke Kāinga


Whare:  Te Puawaitanga o Hinekura
Iwi:  Tamahaki
Hapū:  Ngāti Hinekura

One of the most spectacular views is the current presence of this marae today.  There stands a Pou – Carved Pole that tells the kōrero of the river story from the mountain to the sea as it also represents the reinhabitance of the local people in the early 90’s.  An occupation that gathered as much media attention as people who flocked to support with the most shared memories expressed by visitors being the local māori people, and their unconditional aroha (love).  Today the families of Tieke in partnership with The Department of Conservation have one of the river’s most beautiful gems to see. 

Upstream of Tieke Marae

Mangapāpapa Kāinga

Whare:  Formally Oranga Wairua
Iwi:  Tamahaki
Hapū:  Ngāti Kāponga

Hidden treasure is the best way to describe this magical place.  Enter on to this majestic site by invitation only, as the spiritual presence of those gone by are still felt strongly.  Looked after by the families of Te Wānanga o Mangapāpapa Trust, you’re best chance is only to be welcomed by the traditional tikanga (protocal of the marae and its people) and at night it is commonly told that the Ruru (Night Owl) keep a watchful eye over everyone.

Upstream of Mangapāpapa Kāinga


Iwi:  Tamahaki
Hapū:  Ngāti Parekitai

Kirikiriroa is a pā that takes its name from the long shingle river bed which runs past it.  Strategically based as the river almost complete turns back on itself is this ancient pā that gave its inhabitants clear views upward and downward.  Rarely visited today, a sacred site is this place that only the locals would be able to share.

Upstream of Mangapāpapa


Iwi:  Ngāti Haua & Ngāti Hauaroa
Hapū:  Ngāti Te Namu

Whitianga endeared itself to the people of Ngāti Ruaka of Ranana when their own, Tamahina sought marriage to the daughter of Tamakehu and Ruaka, Hinengākau.  Here some say she lays still, a sacred place that only with descendants to this place of beauty should anyone visit.  A very private place is Whitianga, one of significance with Hinengākau being one of the guardians of the upper whanganui river.


Blue Duck Station


Whakahoro is the home of the Blue Duck Station, central to all river users on the Whanganui River as an entry and exit point for travellers.  With accomodation and meals available, it’s only a drive through the most spectacular of terrains that seperates you from enjoying nature at its finest.




Iwi:  Ngāti Haua

Ngāhuinga is commonly referred to today as Cherry Grove.  Originally called ‘Ngāhuihuinga’ it was not just the gathering place of two waters, the Ōngarue and the Whanganui, but traditionally the gathering place of peoples from many hapū and iwi.  The mountain Tuhua is commonly referred to as Te Puru ki Tuhua – The Plug of Tuhua as the Whanganui River people were heavily reliant on alliances with upper river families to act as a plug, or a defense mechanism for any uninvited chiefs and their entourage.




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