Te Kauae Matua o Tūtarakauika – The Sacred Jawbone of Tūtarakauika
This image depicts the great Ngāti Awa Tōhunga Ahurewa Te Tahi o Te Rangi who lived in Kākahoroa or modern dayWhakatāne in the Bay of Plenty of the North Island of Aotearoa. He was the most powerful Tōhunga Ahurewa (Priest of the highest order) in the Mātaatua region in his time, feared for his abilities to control the elements as was common among this type of adept. Here he is seen riding the great whale Tūtarakauika – the Lord and chief of all whales. His own people feared him and therefore plotted against him to rid him from their presence. Some say both Tūtarakauika and Ruamano came to guide him home. They planned a trip to Whakaari (White Island) off the coast and plotted to leave him there alone, which they did. His knowledge and incantations he sent out the call to this magnificent Whale, who came to him and allowed Te Tahi o te Rangi to ride him back to his home. They became very close, Te Tahi o Te Rangi and Tūtarakauika. Upon his arrival back at the village, the people feared for their lives, but instead of revenge he uttered these now famous words. “Waiho ma te whakamaa te patu!” “ I will leave you to your shame to be the death of you!” Other this even Te Tahi o te rangi left the Whakatāne region and headed to Te Awa o Te Atua and built his own whare wānanga called Te Kauae Matua o Tūtarakauika. Known as the sacred house of learning the was hewn from the sacred jawbone of Tūtarakauika. Te Tāwera Hapū o Ngāti Awa is the present day keepers and guardians of the mauri (life-force) of this whare wānanga. In the background can be seen Wairaka on the rock called Turuturu-Roimata, (Daughter of Toroa, the Ariki of the Mātaatua canoe, a double hulled canoe that voyaged from Hawaiki in the north to settle the Area of Whakatāne) and further in the background can be seen Moutohora, Whale Island. It is said that upon the death of Te Tahi o te Rangi, Tūtarakauikabeseeched him to take him along on his journey beyond the veil, but instead the old Tōhunga Ahurewa replied “No, i will turn you to stone to await my return” and so he turned Tūtarakauika into this island, now known as Whale island.