The earliest occupants of the district were the Ngamarama, then the Waitaha came, they drove the Ngamarama across the Waimapu and occupied Hairini. Ranginui appeared and also attacked the Ngamarama. It was not till after some time that they fought in concert. At first each was waging an independent war on Ngamarama.
The Takitimu waka is one of the famous and well-known migration waka that came to Tauranga. Here Tamatea, the commander, decided to remain and he handed over the vessel to the command of Tahu, the younger brother of Porourangi. On reaching Tauranga or Kawhai-nui as it was called, his first act was to plant a sacred flax, called Whara-whara-nui. He then built a pa inland of Wairakei and named it Te Manga-Tawa.
One of the local traditions recounts the Te Arawa waka travelling past the coastline on its way to Maketu. Places were named including the entire coast from Katikati to Maketu. Tama Te Kapua the captain of the Te Arawa named Maketu (the bridge of my nose), Hei claimed ‘Te Takapu o Waitaha’ (the belly of my son, Waitaha), and Tia named ‘Te Takapu o Tapuika’ (the belly of my son Tapuika). Later Te Arawa people occupied the coastal area including Te Tumu.
The meandering waters of the Kaituna River also hold tremendous spiritual value for the Tapuika people. One extremely important wahi tapu was a bend in the river that was the resting place of the Tapuika taniwha, Te Mapu. Tapuika and traditions refer to the kuia Puparahaki and the role she had in persuading Te Mapu to leave, thereby forging the Parawhenuamea stream and tributaries as she departed. The Kaituna River was an important conduit for communication and travel by canoe.
Te Tumu became an important place for flax growing, dressing and trading in the early 19th century. Hans Tapsell, a trader, established a flax mill and business at Maketu. The surrounding lands became a hive of activity; however tensions grew and conflict broke out.
According to Dr Evelyn Stokes, the large pa on Maunganui was taken by Te Morenga of Ngapuhi in 1820 and never re-occupied. A peace was made with Ngapuhi shortly afterwards by Te Waru of Ngai Te Rangi. This was kept until 1830 when a force of Ngapuhi led by Haramiti were defeated by a combined force of Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui and Ngati Haua at Motiti. An expedition led under Titore and Te Panakareao reached Tauranga towards the end of 1832. This army joined with Te Arawa at Maunganui and at least one month of battles ensued with no decisive battle on either side. It appears that during this time Te Tumu and Papahikahawai were not occupied by Ngai Te Rangi but they probably did prior to Ngapuhi expeditions. According to Te Wharehuia (Tapuika) and Te Tumu (Tapuika), “after Ngapuhi conquered Mokoia [in 1823] and peace was made, they returned to Papahikahawai and Te Tumu and Ngai Te Rangi did not...disturb us there”.
Te Tumu’s most important association with early history is with events surrounding the battle of Te Tumu, which in itself is part of a nine year inter-tribal war whose influence of which extended to Northland, Waikato, Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty. The battle of Te Tumu was attended by a large number of Ngai Te Rangi and Te Arawa hapu supported by small groups of other iwi. The outcome of the battles was the permanent re-occupation of Maketu by Te Arawa descent groups and the realignment of boundaries for Mataatua descent groups including Ngai Te Rangi of Tauranga. A large number of important chiefs and warriors were killed during the battles.
Today large parts of Te Tumu are still owned by European, Māori and tangata whenua maintain ongoing relationships with the ancestral lands, waters, wahi tapu, and sites.
Maketu Minutes Book 1878. P177
Percy Smith. The fall of Te Tumu Pa, near Maketu, Bay of Plenty New Zealand. P121-130. Journal of the Polynesian Society, Volume 32, No. 127
The Wisdom of the Maori. The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 10. New Zealand Government Railways Department, Wellington. 1 January 1935.
John White. The Ancient History of the Maori, His Mythology and Traditions: tai-nui, Volume V, 1888. pp231-
Alister Matheson. Tapsell Big Guns.
Mitchell, J.H. Takitimu. A history of the Ngati Kahungunu people. 1944.pp41, 59, 56
“Kainga Pakanga” – Manuscript with identification and narrative relating to Nga Te Rangi. (Te Reo Māori). No date
Neil G Hansen. Tauranga County, 1945 to 1989. The story about the post World War II years, of wide ranging development, until local reorganisation. March 1995.
Bay of Plenty Shipwrecks. Alister Matheson. Volume 47. No2
Russell Kirkpatrick, Kataraina Belshaw, John Campbell. Land-based cultural resources – waterways and environmental impacts 1840-2000. University of Waikato. 2004
Stafford, D. Te Arawa. 1967 (reprint 1986) pp47-50, 129, 211, 278-28, 485
Stokes, E. Te Raupatu o Tauranga Moana: Vol 2, Documents related to Tribal History, Confiscation and Reallocation of Tauranga Lands, 1992. p19, 27
Kawharu, Johnson, Smith, Wiri, Armstrong, O’Malley. Nga mea o te whenua o Te Arawa. Customary tenure report. March 2005
Mātauranga onamata i nga mahi o ngā Tupuna a Tapuika. Kaituna River and Maketu Estuary Management Strategy History Report. 2008
Minnhinnick, Roimata. A Report on Mauao/Mount Maunganui. Wai 540-A2/Wai 215-A49. 1997. p29 (taken from Stokes:Te Raupatu o Tauranga Moana:1990:4) Serials
Daily Southern Cross, 12 May 1864
Waiata The Lament for Hikareia, Recorded in legends of the Maori (Volume 1, James Cowan, page 314
ML 2046 C.1870
ML 3994 1877
ML 3995 (undated)
ML1916 A-1B, sheet 3, 1900
ML 872 [Tauranga 27c (8x4 feet) – Plan of surveys in the Confiscated Block Tauranga – shows inland tracks and, pa and villages]
SO22804 [Index map of Tauranga County MD3074 – shows big bend of Kaituna River and beach track]
MD3212 – Block V Te Tumu SD – Post April 1908 Plan of Tumu-Kaituna Block April 1900 – 1916 (surveyed by James Baber and later added to) SO12541 Plan of Block V Te Tumu Survey District