“Our ancestor, the Turehu chieftain Tiriwa, lived throughout the extensive forest which once covered West Auckland, the remnant of which is now the Waitākere Ranges. It is from this ancestor that the traditional name for Waitākere, Te Wao nui a Tiriwa – the great forest of Tiriwa, comes. Tiriwa is credited with amazing feats, including the ability to walk across the land in great strides and to change the landscape. In a Te Kawerau ā Maki tradition known as ‘Te Unuhanga o Rangitoto’, Tiriwa is credited with shifting Rangitoto Island from Mercer Bay at Karekare to its present position at the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour. Tiriwa and his many feats continue to be remembered by Te Kawerau ā Maki in tradition, song and carving.”



Keep Kauri Standing! Kauri Dieback School Resource

Tangata Whenua I Ministry of Primary Industries I Department of Conservation Northland Regional Council I Auckland Council I Waikato Regional Council Bay of Plenty Regional Council 

http://www.kauridieback.co.nz/media/32648/kauri-dieback-education-kit-web.pdf (Access date 15 October 2016)

Further research material can be found at: The West Auckland Research Centre, Waitakere Central Library Level 2, 3 Ratanui Street, Henderson, Tel: 09 440 7003 or email.


Tiriwa is a celebrated ancestor of Te Kawerau ā Maki, the tangata whenua (people of the land) of West Auckland. 

Te Warena Taua of Te Kawerau ā Maki, describes the feats of Tiriwa in the following passage: