From Kawhia Wharf, a track extends along the coast to Maketu Marae, which has an impressively carved meeting house, Auaukiterangi. Two stones here – Hani and Puna – mark the burial place of the Tainui waka (a 14th-century ancestral canoe). You can’t see a lot from the road, but the marae is private property and shouldn’t be entered without permission. Email the Maketu Marae Committee for access.
The Tainui waka made its final landing at Kawhia. The expedition leaders – Hoturoa, the chief/captain, and Rakataura, the tohunga (priest) – searched the west coast until they recognised their prophesised landing place. Pulling into shore, they tied the waka to a pohutukawa tree, naming it Tangi te Korowhiti. This unlabelled tree still stands on the shoreline between the wharf and Maketu Marae. The waka was then dragged up onto a hill and buried: sacred stones were placed at either end to mark its resting place, now part of the marae.