Rangitāne as a distinct tribal grouping trace their origins to the arrival of the waka Kurahaupō at Nukutaurua on the Mahia Peninsula from the traditional homeland of Hawaiki. Whātonga, the grandson of Toi Te Huatahi, was aboard Kurahaupō waka.
He initially settled in Heretaunga. Whātonga and his descendants then left Heretaunga and eventually settled in the Lower North Island, in the Manawatū, Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua, Wairarapa and Te Whanganui-ā-Tara. Whātonga was the grandfather of Rangitāne (the man), the eponymous ancestor of all Rangitāne Iwi.
Uri of Rangitāne were among the earliest people to occupy both the Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua and Wairarapa regions. They assumed mana whenua and occupied the Wairarapa, Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua and Southern Hawke’s Bay districts undisturbed for a number of generations and were in occupation of these areas as at 1840. Over time, other Iwi groups also migrated to occupy the area including hapū with links to Kahungunu.
Both Rangitāne o Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua and Rangitāne o Wairapara acknowledge their relationships to other Rangitāne Iwi through their whakapapa to the eponymous ancestor, Rangitāne, including:
- Rangitāne o Wairau;
- Rangitāne o Manawatū; and
- Rangitāne o Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
Rangitāne note that their whanaunga in Wairau, Manawatū and Te Whanganui-a-Tara are, however, separate and distinct groups with interests outside of the Wairarapa ki Tamaki Nui-ā-Rua region. The Trust wishes to make it clear that the mandate sought by the Trust does not include the claims of these Iwi.