Ko Māhuhu-ki-te-rangi te waka tupuna o Ngāti Whātua. E ai kī ngā kōrero, ko Waerota te ingoa o te moutere i haere mai ai te waka nei, ka mutu, ko te take i tere mai te waka ki Aotearoa ko te māra kūmara.
He tuakana teina a Rongomai rāua ko Rongoatu, ā, ko Whakataupōtiki tō rāua matua. Tērā te wā i puea ake tētahi raru i waenganui i a rāua mō te kūmara te take. Nō muri, hangaia ana e Whakataupōtiki he waka mō tana tama a Rongomai me tōna whānau. Ka tapaina te waka ki tētahi tikanga mō te kūmara e kiia nei ko te whakamāhuhu. I te whakamaunutanga o te waka, ka karanga iho a Rongomai ki tana teina ki a Rongoatu; “E noho, ko tō tāua māra hei tuakana mōu.” Ka whakahokia e Rongoatu; “Haere, ko ō kūmara hei teina mōu.”
Ko Rongomai te rangatira o te waka, ā, ko Whakataupōtiki hei tohunga. Ka ū rātou ki Tākou ki te Tai Tokerau, ā, ka rere whakatetonga mā te rāwhiti tae atu ki te awa o Waiapu. Te taenga atu ki reira, mārakerake ana te kitea kua muia kētia te whenua rā e te Tini a Toi. Kātahi ka waihape te waka ki te Tai Tokerau, mā Te Reinga rātou haere atu ai ki te Kaipara. Ko te ūnga tērā o Māhuhu-ki-te-rangi ki Tāporapora, he motu i tū ki te moana o Kaipara i ōnā wā erangi kua ngaro noa atu.
Ki ngā hapū o Ngāti Whātua i tahuri ai te waka ki reira, ā, ka taka a Rongomai ki te wai, mate tonu atu. Ka kainga tōna tinana e te araara, koia rā te take i tapu ai tērā ika ki ngā uri o Ngāti Whātua. I kitea te tinana o Rongomai i raro iho o Waikaretū ki te wāhi e kiia nei Ko Te Ākinga a Rongomai. Nō muri, ka whakaterea te waka ki te whanga o Rangaunu ki reira takoto ai. Ka noho tūturu ngā kaihoe me ō rātou whānau ki taua takiwā, ā, ka moea haeretia e te Tini a Kūi. Ka mutu, koinā hoki te takotoranga whakamutunga o te waka ki te wāhi e mōhiotia nei ko te Waipopo-o-Māhuhu.
Māhuhu ki-te-rangi is the key ancestral canoe of Ngāti Whātua. According to some, Waerota was the name of the island which the canoe last departed from, furthermore, the reason it left was a dispute over a kūmara garden.
Rongomai and Rongoatu were brothers and Whakataupōtiki was their father. There was a time when an issue arose between them about the kūmara. After that, Whakataupōtiki built a canoe for Rongomai and his family. The canoe was named after a ceremony for kūmara which was called the whakamāhuhu. Upon the departure of the canoe, Rongomai called out to his brother Rongoatu; “Stay and let our garden be an elder sibling for you.” Rongoatu replied; “Go, and let the kūmara be younger siblings for you.”
Rongomai was the commander whilst his father was the navigator. They arrived at Tākou in the north, then ventured south along the East Coast until they arrived at the East Cape to the Waiapu River. It was easy to see, the land was populated by the Tini a Toi people. Therefore the canoe returned to the north, then rounded the top of the island and headed south toward the Kaipara Harbour. That was the arrival of Māhuhu-ki-te-rangi to Tāporapora, an island which once stood in the Kaipara Harbour but has long since disappeared.
Accounts say that the canoe overturned there and Rongomai drowned whereupon he was eaten by the trevally, which has been tapu to Ngāti Whātua descendants ever since. Rongomai’s body was found just below Poutō marae near some rocks at a place called the ‘The Pounding of Rongomai.’ After these events, the waka was refloated and sailed to Rangaunu where it would eventually come to rest. Those aboard and their families stayed there and married into the Tini a Kūi. This would be the final resting place of Māhuhu-ki-te-rangi at a place called The Decaying of Māhuhu.