The people of the district are known as Ngati Manawa who are the descendants of the ancestor, Tangiharuru. Ngati Manawa are the ‘kaitiaki’ or guardians of the Tawhiuau Mountain and Rangitaiki river. Rangipo is a highly significant place to Ngati Manawa, on the Rangitaiki river. It is the place where Ngati Manawa farewell the eels as they return to sea in order to spawn. The mana whenua of Ngati Manawa covers all of the lands between the Kaingaroa plains and the Rangitaiki and Whirinaki valleys. The pepeha above encapsulates their tribal identity and identifies their main tribal landmarks.