Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

whanganui-a-tara icon

Wi Omere Te Ipu

d. May 1884

whanganui-a-tara icon

Wi Omere also known as Te Ipu or Rangiwahia belonged to Kaitangata. He was the son of Manukino and Tutonga. Wi Omere had two daughters called Hera Te Ipu and Mere Wiremu Te Ipu d.1890. Mere in turn had two daughters called Rangitiapa Pohonui and Ngamako Pohonui who lived at Kihikihi in the Waikato. His second wife called Riria belonged to the Ngati Ruanui and died in 1900. They had no children. His brothers Pene Te Riri and Pita Te Haukoti also came to Whanganui-a-Tara. His sister Rapana Rangiwahia married Te Aratangata of Ngati Toa who was a brother of Nohorua and Hinekote (kuia). Nohorua was the elder half brother of Te Rauparaha, Chief of Ngati Toa, and took as a baptismal name Watarauhi. Watarauhi Nohorua's wife called Wharemawhai belonged to Ngati Rahiri of Te Ati Awa and he is recorded at times visiting both Pipitea and Te Aro pas in the 1840s. Ngatata-i-te-Rangi also belonged to Ngati Rahiri.

The details of Wi Omere's early life are to be found in an interview of Rangipito of Ngati Rahiri who was interviewed by S Percy Smith and A. Shand when he was an old man. Rangiwahia had fought in the battle of Te Motunui in 1821/2 and in the battle at Pukerangiora in 1831.

According to Smith, in the following year 1832, a number of northern Te Ati Awa tribes gathered at Tikorangi on the north bank of the Waitara river to arrange details of Te Heke Tama-te-uaua to Kapiti. Some Ngati Tama, Ngati Mutunga and others joined them. The leaders at this point were Te Pononga, Te Hau-te-horo, Rangiwahia and the heke included R. Barrett, J. Love and Billy Keenan and their families. When the heke (numbering perhaps 2500) finally left Kapua-taita on the Wai-o-ngana River sometime after March, the principal chiefs were Tau-tara, Raua-ki-tua, Te Wharepouri, Te Puni, Rangiwahia, Wi Tako, Hau-te-horo, Te Ito, Te One-mihi and others.

Rangipito did not mention the Ngati Maru who came south and settled at Titahi Bay and elsewhere but returned to Taranaki when Christianity had been established. Later they had a short encounter with Tuwheratoa under Te Heuheu east of Pukenamu which is the hill in Whanganui on which the Rutland stockade was built a few years later.

Later a further heke under Wiremu Te Rangitake reached Waikanae. During 1834 Rangiwahia helped defend the Te Ati Awa in the Hao-whenua Pa but after that battle Rangiwahia or Wi Omere went with the Ngati Tama to Ohariu and finally settled at Pakuao while cultivating at Otari. When the Tory arrived in 1839 Wi Omere was probably one of those referred to as cultivating at Otari. One witness called him Wi Omere of Otari. He later signed the Deeds of Release in 1844 at Pakuao with Hakaraia Parua who was Wi Keepa Ngapapa's brother. In 1862 he signed a lease on part of Ngati Tama land at Otari with a number of others. They were Wikitoa, Raniera Taura (Pakawahenga), Pene Te Riri, Takarei (Raniera's brother), Taituha Te Rena, Peti Te Hauatua and Iraia Raniera.

When peace was made with the Ngati Kahungunu by the Ngati Tama in 1842 some Kaitangata and Ngati Tama people went to live on the Mukamuka cultivations which they had used many years before. When the Mukamuka Reserve was created in 1847 a number of Ngati Tama left again to live on a Maori Reserve at Pakaratahi in the Upper Hutt valley. Senior Ngati Tama chiefs such as Taringakuri and Raniera only visited Mukamuka. Taringa kuri lived in the Hutt Valley and Raniera was in the Wharekauri between 1835 and 1841. However Wi Omere and his brother Pene Te Riri stayed at Mukamuka for the rest of their lives and were buried there.

Wi Omere had a niece called Katerina Aratangata (d.1893). Her mother Rapana Rangiwahia was Wi Omere’s sister. Katerina married Raniera Te Pokawainga who was Taringakuri's nephew. Their children Iraia Raniera, Waitaoro Raniera (d.1929), and Te Kapo Raniera were all born in Wharekauri. Another niece of Wi Omere, Hira Te Aratangata (d. July 1891 at Porirua) and her husband Hohaia Pokaitara used to live sometimes at Mukamuka and sometimes at Porirua at the Koangaumu Reserve which Nohorua had retained for his descendants and relations. Hira reported that her father Te Aratangata and her brothers went to the Kaiapoi (1829) fight between Te Rauparaha and the Ngai Tahu and that Te Aratangata was killed there.

Wi Omere died in May 1884 and was buried at Mukamuka.

[Note - while the linkage of Wi Omere's early life as Rangiwahia e.g. in the battle of Te Motunui in 1821/2, is less certain, he is nevertheless an important local tupuna.]

References:
Wellington MB no. 1 p.55, 62, 314-316, 368
Wellington MB no. 2 p.33-40, 38, 46-48, 87, 122, 194-201
Wellington MB no. 3 p.20
Wellington MB no. 6 p.315-318, 329-330, 338-339
Otaki MB no. 27 p.134-5
Otorohanga MB no. 48 p.107
Smith, S. Percy. History and traditions of the Taranaki coast. Journal of the Polynesian Society. : v. 19, p.49-62, 74-81 (1910)
Ballara, Angela. Waitaoro 1848/49?-1929, in, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography updated 30th September 2002. URL: http://www.dnzb.govt.nz.
OLC 1/906 Tod claim.

Korero o te Wa I Raraunga I Rauemi I Te Whanganui a Tara I Whakapapa