Upon arriving in Aotearoa aboard the Mataatua waka under the captain Toroa, Ngai Te Rangi settled in the Opotiki area at a pā named Tawhitirahi. The historical journey which is recounted in history as Te Heke o Te Rangihouhiri, lead the tribe from Ōpōtiki, down to Whāngārā on the East Coast, back to Tōrere, Whakatāne, then Maketū. From there the tribe instigated their final battle to secure lands in Tauranga by conquering the pa of Ranginui on Mauao, which is known as the the Battle of Kōkōwai. Te Rangihouhiri himself did not survive to reach Tauranga but his name lived on in the tribe which was later called Ngāi Te Rangi.
With the arrival of Europeans to this region, it was the Battle of Gate Pa which changed our city forever. Our leaders of that time Rawiri Puhirake, Penetaka Tuaia and Henare Taratoa lost their lives fighting for our people, and our survival. Ngai Te Rangi has survived and flourished. Ngai Te Rangi have 11 operative Marae extending from Ngā Kuri a Whārei at Waihi Beach in the north to Te Tumu in the East including the islands Tūhua, Mōtītī, Matakana, Rangiwaea, Kārewa, Motuotau and Moturiki.