Wairarapa College is situated within the heart of land over which the Ngati Hamua hapu holds mana whenua.
The land is a part of what was called Kuhangawariwari and is bordered by Whakaoriori (Masterton), Kuripuni and Ngaumutawa. During the second half of the 19th century there were still papakainga on what today are the Renall Street Railway Station, Masterton Cosmopolitan club and the Solway Showgrounds. There were also many gardens on the west side of Masterton. Today the closest marae to Wairarapa College is Te Rangimarie in Cole Street, which is owned by the Anglican Maori Vestry. The meeting house Nuku- taimemeha was relocated to the current site from Lincoln Road Carterton in 1968.
Ngati Hamua is the paramount hapu of Rangitane o Wairarapa, a people named after a man called Tanenuiarangi /Rangitane.
Rangitane’ father was Tautoki who in turn was the son of Whatonga, captain of the an¬cestral waka called Kurahaupo. Whatonga had come to New Zealand from Hawaiki in search of his grandfather Toi te Huatahi. Toi te Huatahi lived 28 generations before the year 2000.
After initially landing at Cape Reinga the Kurahaupo sailed as far as Taranaki down the west coast before turning around and eventually finding TOi te Huatahi at Whakatane on the east coast. After this the Kurahaupo went to Nukutaurua on the Mahia Peninsular, where it is said that the waka was turned to stone and the people gradually dispersed.
Whatonga made his home at Heretaunga which is today known as Hawkes Bay. Within generations his people had re located to places throughout the lower north island and top of the south island. Over time the many descendent groups of Whatonga went under the umbrella name of Rangitane.
With the umbrella name in mind Rangitane o Wairarapa has lived in the Wairarapa since the time of Whatonga who explored the region during his lifetime. Remnants of even older people continued to live here after the jpstablishment of Rangitane but for approxi¬mately 300 years Rangitane lived without major disruption. From the 17th century on¬wards successive migrations have occurred. Over the last four hundred years there have been a number of other people/iwi join Rangitane, most prominently Ngati Kahungunu.
Even though the central hub of Ngati Hamua is from the Taratahi plains to Pahiatua, the hapu and its complex of sub hapu have major rights and interests at places throughout the modern regions of Wairarapa, Tararua and Horowhenua. The hapu history extends into many other areas too.
The main marae today is Te Ore Ore to the east of Masterton, but numerous pa, waahi tapu and places of significance can be identified throughout the Wairarapa.please click images below to find out more or click the links above.