Ngāti Kurumōkihi were formerly known as Ngāi Tatara. They are a group who emerged from the interaction between Ngāti Tū and the Ngāti Kahungunu migrants, Taraia I and his generals, who had come into the takiwā. One of Taraia’s most influential generals was Kahutapere II. Kahutapere married Hineterangi of Ngāti Awa (of the tāngata whenua) and established himself at Otiere pā on Roro-o-Kurī island in Te Whanganui- ā-Orotu. They had five children, one of whom was Tataramoa, the eponymous ancestor of Ngāi Tatara.
Kahutapere wished to establish his children in various areas. Tataramoa was invited by Mutu of Ngāti Tū to live at Moeangiangi, and later at Tūtira. After his arrival at Tūtira, Tataramoa married Porangi, the daughter of the Ngāti Tū chief, Kohipipi. He then established his residence at Te-Rae-o-Tangoio. His father-in-law, Kohipipi lived nearby at Pukenui pā, and then later at the Pā-o-Toi.
Living at the same time as Tataramoa was Ngāti Tū chief, Marangatūhetaua. Marangatūhetaua lived at Ngāmoerangi pā which was located on the south side of Te Ngarue river mouth and within sight of Tataramoa’s pā, Te Rae-o-Tangoio. Marangatūhetaua was in charge of Ngāti Tū’s warriors and it is said he gave Tataramoa the task of stopping raiding war parties.
Sometime later, Tataramoa and his wife parted. Tataramoa and his people then occupied a pā on the hilltop south of the Moeangiangi river mouth. Tataramoa remained particularly associated with Moeangiangi on the coast and with the inland areas around Lake Tūtira.
At that period in history Tataramoa’s people were known as Ngāi Tatara, but later events at Lake Tūtira saw the hapū change its name to Ngāti Kurumōkihi.
Ngāi Tatara pā include the twin pā sites on neighbouring peaks, a short distance north-east of Lake Opouahi, namely, Kokopuru and Matarangi. These pā are associated with the principal Ngāi Tatara chief of later times, Waiatara. At Tūtira are other Ngāi Tatara pā including the island pā – Tauranga-kōau, Oporae and Te Rewa-o-Hinetu.