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In the early hours of Saturday morning, members of Ngāti Kearoa Ngāti Tuara assembled, with a singular purpose: to return to Patetere South. This land, woven into the very fabric of our identity, awaited our footprints once more, echoing the legacy of our tupunas. Supported by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, this journey was more than a visit—it was a journey, a collective step towards embracing and retracing the steps of our tupuna.

Tupuna like Te Aokawhai, Haukapuanui, and Tangiharuru once walked these lands, setting the foundations of Ngāti Kearoa Ngāti Tuara’s enduring connection to Patetere South, Tikorangi, and Horohoro Mountain. These leaders guided their people through times of peace and conflict, securing the lands that would nourish and sustain their descendants. The stories of their battles, victories over Ngāti Haumia, and settlements are treasured by the tribe for generations.

As the roopu passed over the land, echoes of the past surrounded them. The architect’s description of kainga sites, of kumara pits, and pataka brought history to life, forging a timeless link between the present and the past.

This expedition to Patetere South was part of Ngā Tapuwae ō Tātou Tūpuna a series of wānanga to explore significant taonga and cultural sites within our rohe, including Waikarakia, Tihi-o-tonga, and Horoirangi. It offered an opportunity for the hapū to immerse themselves in the whakapapa, stories, and landscapes that have shaped our history.