“Ko Tawhiuau te maunga, ko Rangitaiki te awa, ko Ngati Manawa te iwi, ko Rangipo te wehenga o te tuna”
“The mountain is Tawhiuau, the river is Rangitaiki, the people are Ngati Manawa, Rangipo is the place where the eels depart”
Ngati Manawa as it was
The Urewera Mountains rise sheer from the Kaingaroa Plains like the walls of a giant’s castle. Much of the region was characterised by extremes, from the mountainous terrains and valleys being richly cloaked in resources, to barren plains where few flora grew. The rugged Urewera hills, Ikawhenua ranges were (and still are) densely covered in virgin forest of tall matai, rimu, miro, tawhai, totara and other trees, and provided a wide source of foods and materials, despite the lands, particularly in the valleys, being relatively unfertile and light. Forests were teeming with bird life and other resources such as fern root, berries and numerous plants provided sustenance or medicinal relief. Hills are often steep and valleys narrow, but the catchment area where Ngati Manawa resided is open with the Rangitaiki and Whirinaki rivers flowing through.