Our Kaitiaki 'Tia'
Tia was the third son of Houmaitewhiti who was one of the principle chiefs on Hawaiki. Hawaiki, which we now know to be Raiatea, was the religious, cultural and centre of government of the Polynesian people at that time.
Because of overcrowding and bickering between tribes, the parent tribe on Hawaiki the Ngati Ohomairangi decided that the time had come to seek new lands. They then set about building seven double hulled canoes and it is from these seven canoes that all Maori claim their descent. We of Tuwharetoa claim Te Arawa canoe as our line of ancestry. Tia was the third ranked chief on board. These canoes left Hawaiki early in the 14th century.
When at last they neared the coast of New Zealand, all they could see was a long white cloud, so they named it Aotearoa. All seven canoes arrived over a period of time and immediately set out to find land to claim. When they first started out they discovered that there was already people living there. These were Maori who had set out under their own efforts and had arrived generations before. They had followed instructions left by Kupe the great navigator who had made the journey centuries before.
The high priest Ngatoroirangi and Tia both travelled to Taupo by different routes. Tia upon arriving at the Waikato River, noticed that the water was muddy and concluded that someone was ahead of him. Although unhappy at this news, Tia carried on and crossed the river at the spot now called Atiamuri, which means ‘Tia who follows behind’. Later he came to a series of steps with gushing water and he named it Aratiatia, ‘the stairway of Tia’.
Tia continued his journey and finally reached Taupo. There he discovered the Ngati Hotu in charge. He did not remain very long and set out again travelling south. He came down the east side of Taupo passing through Te Rangiita, Tokaanu and Pukawa and he finally arrived at Titiraupanga which he made his permanent home.
During his quest for land he built altars and temporary dwelling places as he passed through and was able to pass on to his descendants their claims to the lands of Tia. At a spot now known as Hamaria, Tia noticed on a rock face a strange yellowish stain resembling a huge cloak. In old Maori it was called Taupo, thus the term ‘Taupo nui a Tia’ or ‘The Cloak of Tia’ became the name given to the whole district of Taupo.