Ko te tira na Turora, na Rereahi, na Korehe, na Turongo.
Tēnā te tira, te tira oti ana, tira ka tū.
Tēnā toetoe na Haka, na Haua.
Tira ka tū, tēnā oti.
Ko Kohukohunui te maunga, Ko Piako te awa, Ko Tikapa te moana, Ko Te Haupa te tangata.
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.
As hapu of Ngati Paoa took shape they built huge waka taua and extended their footprint to the Tamaki River – Te Wai o Taiki, Kohimarama, Waitemata, Te Haukapua and Kiritai on the North Shore. From their many pa, Ngati Paoa moved throughout the islands of Waiheke, Ponui, Rataroa, Pakatoa and the wider Gulf Islands of Tikapa Moana o Hauraki to Mahurangi - "Nga Poito o te Kupenga a Taramainuku", the floats of the net of Taramainuku. From the late 1700′s Ngāti Paoa exercised their rangatiratanga over a substantial corridor of land and coastal margins, from Mahurangi in the north to Te Hoe-o-Tainui in the south. Early European visitors described the people of Ngāti Paoa as “a powerful and wealthy tribe” and “the finest race seen in New Zealand.”
Having once occupied some of the most strategic land holdings in the Auckland, northern and eastern Waikato and western Hauraki regions, Ngāti Paoa were forced to seek refuge amongst kinsmen in the Waikato hinterland following the invasion by northern tribes in 1821. This warfare, combined with successive waves of epidemics and the land confiscations of the 1860s, conspired to seriously deplete the tribe’s influence over its former estate.
Proximity to the European settlement in Auckland during the 1850s initially gave the tribe a commercial advantage in trade; however, this same proximity brought the tribe under enormous pressure to sell land. Consequently, by 1900, the tribe had been significantly impoverished.
However, Ngāti Paoa began to rally themselves to assert their existence as an independent iwi. The Waitangi Tribunal case marked the beginning of a lengthy struggle to reassert the mana of the iwi throughout its historical domain. Today the tribal centres are based around three marae; Wharekawa Marae at Kaiaua by the western shores of Tikapa Moana; Makomako Marae at Pukorokoro near Miranda and inland at Waiti Marae, Tahuna.