Over 100 descendants of Te Arawa chief Pikiao are retracing the footsteps of their ancestor to his ancient settlement at the ancestral Waikato mountain of Taupiri.
This is the first time the Ngāti Pikiao members will see the ancient abode since their forebears' arrival there 600 years ago.
These children are walking the pathway of their esteemed chief to his ancient Te Ao Whaaki Pā that stood here centuries ago.
“I'm overjoyed to be a part of this journey,” says student Matiu Mear (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue).
“We've done many good activities. We are following in the footsteps of our ancestor Pikiao”.
Taupiri Marae is hosting 80 students from Te Kura o Whangamarino to reconnect them to their genealogy within the region of Waikato and the king movement.
“Before Pikiao left Te Arawa, his father, Kawatapuarangi said, "...who will take my fame abroad?" Hence Pikiao came here to find a new wife,” says marae elder, Hone Nuku Tarawhiti.
“This is for our children and future leaders,” says Te Kura o Whangamarino total immersion teacher, Rehua Mihaka.
“Therefore they will maintain the historical stories and retell them to generations to come”.
Six centuries ago, Pikiao came to Waikato in search of a wife to bear him a son. He left Te Ao Whaaki and travelled to Pirongia where he met his second wife, Rereiao.
“They had a son, Hekemaru- from Hekemaru- was the male line of descent, the male lineage of the Kiingitanga that displayed through the carvings on our meeting house,” says Tarawhiti.
Following their trek here at Taupiri mountain, the Ngāti Pikiao descendants will retrace the footsteps of their chief to Pirongia tomorrow.