At Tawera, below Rangitumau, stood the first pa built in this area – the paa Heipipi. It was one of the 25 marae built along the rier by Ngati Hamau sub tribe of Rangitumau and Te Whiti.
The river in the old days meant everything to the people. It was their food basket, from where they gathered their tuna, koura, kakahi and inanga (eels, crayfish, freshwater mussels and native trout). It gave life and strengeth and it gave spiritual healing. Children were baptised in the old ways known only to the elders of the past. When Christianity came to Wairarapa the people were baptised into the many faiths of today's world.
Today a vein from the Ruamahanga river flows into Henley Lake, leaving behind the enjoyment and pleasure that it once gave to the people of the past. The old people had a saying when the iwi had a problem: "Waiho ki te awa ka-ora-nga kaingata katoa." Leave it to the river to heal mankind.
From Henley lake, that vein flows back to its body to give pleasure to other people of Wairarapa.