This is one story, retold by local historian Pat Parsons:
The well-recited legend of Te Mata Peak portrays the hill as the prostrate body of the Waimārama chief Te Mata.
Many centuries ago the people living in pā (fortified villages) on the Heretaunga Plains were under constant threat of war from the coastal tribes of Waimārama. At a gathering at Pakipaki (5km south of Hastings) to discuss the problem, the solution came when a kuia (wise old woman) sought permission to speak in the marae: “He ai nā te wahine, ka horahia te pō,” she said. (The ways of a woman can sometimes overcome the effects of darkness).