The story of Ngāti Paoa has its origins in Tainui history. When the Te Arawa chief Pikiao came to Pirongia and married Rereiao from Waikato they had a son called Hekemaru who later married Heke i te rangi. The issue of the Hekemaru and Heke i te rangi were a girl Paretahuri, and two boys Mahuta and Paoa.
About the 1600s Paoa left his wife Tauhakari and their children Koura, Toawhana and Toapoto at his village at Kaitotehe, on the west bank of the Waikato River near Taupiri. He went to Hauraki and married Tukutuku the great grand-daughter of Marutuahu. Over time the descendants of Paoa formed numerous subtribes that dominated the western shores of Tikapa Moana o Hauraki, the Hauraki Plains and Piako River area from Kerepehi to Tahuna, Te Hoe o Tainui, Patetonga, Waitakaruru. Pukorokoro, Hauarahi, Kaiaua, Whakatiwai, Hunua, Orere and Clevedon.