Ngāi Tahu

  (Redirected from Ngai Tahu)

Ngāi Tahu, or Kāi Tahu, is the principal Māori iwi (tribe) of the South Island of New Zealand. Its takiwā (tribal area) is the largest in New Zealand, and extends from White Bluffs / Te Parinui o Whiti (southeast of Blenheim), Mount Mahanga and Kahurangi Point in the north to Stewart Island in the south. The takiwā comprises 18 rūnanga (governance areas) corresponding to traditional settlements.

Ngāi Tahu
Iwi (tribe) in Māoridom
Ngāi Tahu Takiwa.jpg
Rohe (region)South Island
Waka (canoe)Tākitimu, Arahura, Āraiteuru
Population54,819[1] Edit this at Wikidata

Some definitions of Ngāi Tahu include the Waitaha and Kāti Māmoe tribes who lived in the South Island prior to the arrival of Ngāi Tāhu.[2] The five primary hapū (sub-tribes) of the three tribes are Kāti Kurī, Ngāti Irakehu, Kāti Huirapa, Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Te Ruakihikihi.


Ngāi Tahu originated in the Gisborne District of the North Island,[3] along with Ngāti Porou and Ngāti Kahungunu, who all intermarried amongst the local Ngāti Ira.[4]

15th centuryEdit

Ngāi Tahu trace their traditional descent from Tahupōtiki (also Te Tuhi-māreikura-ooho-a-tama-wahine, and Tahumatua), the younger brother of Porourangi. The brothers are said to be descended from Paikea as grandsons,[5] great-grandsons, or great-great grandsons. Either way, Paikea is always Chief Uenuku's son. Some groups may even trace the brothers as great-grandsons of Uenuku's other son Ruatapu as well as with Paikea.[6]

Whatever the case, Tahupōtiki was born in Whāngārā (a place associated with Paikea), around 1450CE. He was given command of the Tākitimu, and paddled it down to the South Island where he landed at the Arahura River on the West Coast - or at the Waiau River near Manapōuri. He stayed there for a time before traveling back to Whāngārā in a new canoe upon learning of the death of his brother. As according to ancient protocol, he took Porourangi's grieving wife Hamo-te-rangi as his own, by whom he had at least four sons: Ira-a-Tahu, Ira-(apa)-roa, Tahumuri-hape, and Karimoe. Some say his other sons were Ira-manawa-piko, Rakaroa, Rakahurumanu, Tūroto, Tahutīoro, and Ruanuku.[7]

North Island coast, north of Gisborne. Ngāi Tahu originated in the Gisborne District

Tahupōtiki, Ira-a-Tahu, Iraroa, and Tahumuri-hape moved south towards Tūranga, then settled at Maraetaha at the northern end of the Wharerātā Range. Karimoe instead moved northwards and settled at the banks of the Mangaheia stream, inwards of Uawa. The family later moved to Iwitea, where Tahu built the Taumatahīnaki. The ancestor Te Matuahanga (descendant of Tūroto and Rakaroa) is still known in the area around there. More pā were established further inland along the Tukemōkihi block.

16th centuryEdit

Owing to growing tensions between the various tribes inhabiting the surrounding area, many groups began their migration away from Waerenga-a-Hika in the Gisborne District. One of the earliest notable instances of tension was where Rākaihikuroa, grandson of Kahungunu, killed his own twin brothers out of jealousy, and was banished after his own son Tupurupuru was killed in revenge.[4]

Perhaps a more notable instance, is when Rākaihikuroa's other son Rākaipaaka was insulted by local Chief Tūtekohi who had invited him to his pā and then fed the prepared feast to his dog Kauerehuanui. The visitors showed no reaction at the time, but after leaving, Whaitiripoto instructed Whakaruru-a-Nuku to go back and eat the dog in revenge. This action resulted in war against the Takutaioterangi Pā and their allied tribes.[4]

A similar engagement occurred with Ngāi Tahu, involving Chief Rakawahakura (great grandson of Ira-a-Tahu),[7] Whaitiripoto, and Whakaruru-a-Nuku. The fish and birds for this feast were actually cleverly carved chunks of wood, designed to give the impression of those foods being prepared in the storehouse. The later battle came to be known as Te Whataroa because of this. The children began playing games, enticing the adults to join in as a distraction while the hosts began to form their attack, even killing the visitors' dogs. Tūtekohi ultimately won, and so Ngāi Tahu was forced to move further down the North Island.[4][8] Rakawahakura was later killed near Waikato.[9]

17th centuryEdit

Migration to WellingtonEdit

From Gisborne the tribe had moved down the coast to the Heretaunga District. The ancestress Tūhaitara, senior granddaughter of Rakawahakura, insulting her husband Chief Marukore of Ngāti Mamoe,[6][10] or Te Kāhea,[9] and his ancestry, as well as various other exchanges are the reason for war between their two tribes. Tūhaitara herself may have had some degree of Ngāti Mamoe heritage,[11][12] but he was a local viewed as below her status. The pair had 11 children in total, including Tamaraeroa, Huirapa, Tahumatā, Pahirua and Hinehou.[8] Huirapa is the son who Kāti Huirapa descends from.

Tūhaitara's cousin through Rakawahakura, Kurī, also lived around this time. As she was the senior ancestress of Ngāi Tahu with her own hapū named after her, Ngāi Tūhaitara,[7] Kurī is also the ancestor of the prominent Kāti Kurī hapū.[4]

Tūhaitara instructed Tamaraeroa and Huirapa to kill Marukore at a place called Papanui.[10] However, Marukore knew of their plan and defeated them in the Battle of Hūkete after which their sister Hinehou laid them on the floor of her whare for her grandchildren to see, and left her belongings with them before burning down the building in an incident now known as Kārara Kōpae (The Laying Down of Fighting Chiefs).[8] Alternatively, Marukore himself burned their bodies on a funeral pyre.[10] Tamaraeroa's wife was killed as well, but they left a son named Te Aohuraki. Huirapa's son Marainaka also survived the fighting.[9]

Next the brothers Pahirua and Tahumatā sought out to defeat Marukore. As they were about to take advice from a local chief named Rākaimoari, his daughter Hinewai-a-tapu made a remark about Tahumatā which sparked the Battle of Te Pakiaka ('The Roots') that lasted for some days. It was named so because Tahumatā caught Hinewai-a-tapu hiding under some tree roots, and made her his wife.[8]

Eventually the Ngāti Mamoe chief Hikaororoa managed to trap Marukore's party in a whare. Hikaororoa asked for the 'chief of the long plume' to come to the door to be cannibalised. Marukore's younger cousin Rokopaekawa took Marukore's head dress (the sign of status) and was sacrificed instead. However he did not cook properly, and the head dress's plume was still visible in the dirt. This was considered a bad omen and so the body was discarded with the incident being called 'Pikitūroa' ('The Long Standing Feather Plumes')[8]

Marukore and Tūhaitara would both die in the Battle of Tapapanui,[8] at the hands of their son Pahirua who was very angry about the whole situation. In one telling of the series of battles, Hinehou and Pahirua built Kārara Kōpae together, and burnt the bodies of all the slain there.[9] The remaining children of the warring parents would move down to a place called Te Oreorehua in Wairarapa where Hinehou was already living, and southward to Te Whanganui-a-Tara within a few generations.[8]

Migration to the South IslandEdit

A view of Wellington Harbour, Ngāi Tahu lived in this area before migrating to the South Island

In Wellington Te Aohikuraki, the senier chief, slept with Rākaitekura (a high ranking Ngāi Tahu woman) while her husband Tūmaro was away visiting his family. Of this Te Hikutawatawa (later named Tūāhuriri), the ancestor of Ngāi Tūāhuriri, was born a bastard. Owing to her high rank, Tūmaro was unable to kill her, so instead had her prepare herself for marriage with Te Aohikuraki. The stream where she did up her hair was called Koukourārata.[6] Tūmaro gathered his family and departed for Waimea, near Nelson across the Cook Strait, leaving Rākaitekura and Te Hikutawatawa behind.[13]

Curiosity burning in him since childhood, when the other children would pick fun on him for being illegitimate, Te Hikutawatawa left Kaiwhakawaru seeking out his step-father. Upon his arrival to Waimea, Tūmaro's father Kahukura-te-paku, not knowing who he was, had intended to cannibalize him, but later put a stop to the preparations when the local children heard Te Hikutawatawa muttering of his origins. Kahukura then asked Te Hikutawatawa to climb through a window to remove the breach on tapu, where he and Tūmaro greeted him with open arms. Te Hikutawatawa was still outraged at his mana being defiled by Kahukura-te-paku, and so he returned later to destroy the site and kill everyone who lived there. After this he was known as Tūāhuriri ('tūāhu' meaning 'sacred altar', 'riri' meaning 'to be angry').[13]

Late in the 17th century the tribe began migrating to the northern part of the South Island under the leadership of the Ngāti Kurī chief Pūraho, with his sons Makō-ha-kirikiri and Marukaitātea, establishing Kaihinu Pā in the Tory Channel / Kura Te Au. After an incident in which a Ngāi Tahu taua had desecrated the bones of one of Ngāi Tara's ancestors, Pūraho was murdered in revenge early one morning when he went to relieve himself. This broke out into a series of battles between the two tribes.[3]

Hikaororoa, a prominent tribal member, attacked Te Mata-ki-kaipoinga pā after Tūāhuriri insulted him. Tūtekawa (Tūāhuriri's brother-in-law of senior Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou, and Ngāti Mamoe connections) withdrew his men to attack at another angle after his younger relative recognized an insult from Hikaororoa. He sent the same relative to warn Tūāhuriri and to escape, which he did into a nearby bush. For unknown reasons, when Tūtekawa entered the pā, he slew Tūāhuriri's wives Hinekaitaki and Tuarāwhati (Whākuku's sisters). After the battle, Tūtekawa fled down to Waikākahi on the shores of Lake Ellesmere / Te Waihora where he lived amongst his fellow Ngāti Mamoe.[13] His additional family ties included his wife Tūkōrero being a sister to Tūāhuriri’s wife Hinetewai (mother of Hāmua, Tūrakautahi, and Moki). He was also a first cousin to both the Ngāti Kurī chief Te Rakiwhakaputa, and to the Ngāti Mamoe leader Tukiauau.[14]

On one occasion when Ngāti Kurī fought with Rangitāne, Chief Tūteurutira had mistaken one of his captives, Hinerongo, as one of the enemy's women. She was in fact a member of Ngāti Mamoe who had already been taken captive by Rangitāne, and so he returned her to Matariki Pā on the Clarence River. This struck a new alliance between their tribes, after which they successfully attacked Rangitāne in the Wairau Valley. For this Ngāti Mamoe then ceded the east coast regions north of the Clarence River to Ngāi Tahu, and Tūteurutira and Hinerongo married and settled at the pā.[3]

In the Battle of Ōpokihi against Ngāti Mamoe, Marukaitātea was rescued by his brothers Makō-ha-kirikiri and Kahupupuni. At the Pariwhakatau pā near the Conway area, Makō-ha-kirikiri was with his sisters Te Apai and Tokerau, Manawa-i-waho's wives, when Tukiauau sneaked in and killed Manawa. The former three were spared by the protection of the guardian, Te Hineumutahi; however, they were forced to leave the pā underneath her legs (she would have been a wooden figure or carving suspended in the air).[15]

Kaikōura's coast, looking north from the train station. Ngāti Kurī is the local hapū of the area

By the 1690s Ngāi Tahu had settled in Canterbury, including Ngāti Kurī conquering the east coast down to Kaikōura, and Ngāti Irakehu peaceably settling among Banks Peninsula's Ngāti Mamoe.[3] The last battle that was fought between the two tribes up to this point, was the Battle of Waipapa, before Ngāti Kurī took Takahanga pā. Marukaitātea chose to stay here, while other chiefs continued to push south.[16] Around this time, Ariki Tūteāhuka was moving the last of the tribe's members to the new island through the Cook Strait. As a consequence for ignoring Chief Te Aweawe's advice to strap two canoes together for a safer passage across the Cook Strait, Tūāhuriri is said to have been left to drown along with Tūmaro while trying to leave Wellington as some of the last members to make the migration. It is very likely that Tūāhuriri's eldest son Hāmua also drowned, but it's also possible that he died in Kaikōura at a young age.[13]

18th centuryEdit

After establishing dominance down to at Kaikōura, many of Ngāi Tahu's leading chiefs were ready to expand further south into the island. One, Moki, another son of Tūāhuriri, had received reports from Kaiapu and Tamakino (brothers of Mārewa, Moki's wife) that his father's wifes' killer, Tūtekawa, was living just further south at Te Waihora. He set off in his canoe, Makawhiu, and attacked various small villages including the Parakākāriki pā at Ōtanerito. Tūtekawa was ultimately killed by Whākuku, avenging his sisters.[17] Tūtekawa's son Te Rakitāmau returned to the home, where he found his wife Punahikoia and children unharmed, and the attackers sleeping near the fire. Te Rakitāmau did not avenge his father, but instead left a sign that he spared their lives, and peace was eventually restored between the two descendants.[14]

Chief Te Rakiwhakaputa claimed the area of Whakaraupō, naming the beach Rāpaki o Te Rakiwhakaputa. He destroyed Ngāti Mamoe's pā at Mānuka, across the hills at Taitapu, and for a time had also for a time prior lived at Te Pā-o-Te Rakiwhakaputa on the Cam River / Ruataniwha. His son Manuhiri drove Ngāti Mamoe out of Ōhinetahi and set up his base there, and his other son Te Wheke set up his own base on Avon River / Ōtākaro's estuary.[18] Makō-ha-kirikiri was given Little River and Wairewa, and Te Ruahikihiki of Kāti Kurī, ancestor of Ngāi Te Ruakihikihi and son of Manawaiwaho and Te Apai, was given Kaitōrete and Te Waihora. Chief Huikai also established himself at Koukourarata (named after the stream in Wellginton where Rākaitekura prepared her hair), and his son Tautahi took Ōtautahi. Tūāhuriri's second eldest son Tūrakautahi, the famous chief of Ngāi Tūhaitara born with a club foot, established the Te Kōhaka-a-kaikai-a-waro pā (now Kaiapoi pā) over a Waitaha site at the Taerutu Lagoon near Woodend, and claimed the area around Banks Peninsula.[17][19]

It is said to have been Tūrakautahi's decision to learn the genealogies and traditions of the West Coast tribes Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri and Ngāti Wairaki, the latter of which already shared a common ancestry with Ngāi Tahu through an ancestor named Tura. A similar approach was taken with Waitaha's genealogies and stories. All three tribes would later be absorbed into Ngāi Tahu.[3] Tūrakautahi narrowly escaped slaughter in their territory. His brother Tānetiki, and two relatives Tūtaemaro and Tūtepiriraki, had not been so fortunate however. The brothers' uncle Hikatūtae chopped off Tānetiki's head and returned it to the rest of the family at Kaikōura. Makō-ha-kirikiri of Wairewa and Moki both avenged the deaths near where the bodies were found in the water, on the shores of Lake Mahinapua in the battle called Tāwiri-o-Te Makō. Moki was later cursed by two tohunga named Iriraki and Tautini for insulting two women. He is said to be buried at Kaitukutuku, near the Waikūkū flaxmill.[17] Makō-ha-kirikiri meanwhile set up his pā at Little River called Ōhiri, after the battle.[15]

Tūrakautahi's son Kaweriri with his father-in-law Chief Te Ruahikihiki had settled Taumutu at the southern end of Te Waihora.[20] Kaweriri later travelled with a taua south to Lowther where he was slain by the Kāti Mamoe chief Tutemakohu around the year 1725 during the Battle of Waitaramea.[21] Tūrakautahi's other son by his wife Te Aowharepapa, Rakiāmoa, would continue the main lines of descent of Ngāi Tahu.[19] Te Ruahikihiki's own son Taoka, by his wife Te Aotaurewa, would push further south to Ōtākou, where he engaged in some of the final battles with Ngāti Mamoe.

Over time, marriages had been arranged between the two tribes to cement peace. Notably of Raki-ihia (Ngāti Mamoe) and Hinehākiri, the cousin of Ngāi Tahu’s leading chief Te-hau-tapunui-o-Tū, and of Honekai, son of Te-hau-tapunui-o-Tū, with Raki-ihia's daughter Kohuwai. Despite this, occasional skirmishes still continued.[3]

The Blue Book: recording Ngāi Tahu kaumatua alive in 1848

19th centuryEdit

During the 1800s, mass groups of Europeans, particularly the British, began to migrate across the world towards New Zealand. Inevitably, they would intermingle with native Māori populations. Today, most if not all families who claim descent from Ngāi Tahu also possess Ngāti Mamoe and British ancestry. The earliest recorded European settlement on the South Island was set up at Bluff by James Spencer in 1823.[22]

Wars with Ngāti ToaEdit

In 1827–1828 Ngāti Toa, under the leadership of Te Rauparaha and armed with muskets, successfully attacked Kāti Kurī at Kaikōura, who were already expecting the Tū-te-pākihi-rangi hapū of Ngāti Kahungunu as friendly visitors. He named the battle 'Niho Maaka' (shark's tooth) after a threat from Rerewaka, a local chief.[3] Ngāti Toa then visited Kaiapoi, ostensibly to trade. When Ngāti Toa attacked their hosts, the well-prepared Ngāi Tahu killed all the leading Ngāti Toa chiefs except Te Rauparaha who subsequently returned to his stronghold at Kapiti Island.

In November 1830 Te Rauparaha persuaded Captain John Stewart of the brig Elizabeth to carry him and his warriors in secret to Takapūneke near present-day Akaroa, where by subterfuge they captured the leading Ngāi Tahu chief, Te Maiharanui, and his wife and daughter. After destroying Takapūneke they embarked for Kapiti with their captives. Te Maiharanui strangled his daughter and threw her overboard to save her from slavery.[23] Ngāti Toa killed the remaining captives. John Stewart, though arrested and sent to trial in Sydney as an accomplice to murder, nevertheless escaped conviction.[3] Another captive, Hone Tīkao of Ngāi Te Kahukura and Ngāi Tūāhuriri, did survive and would later visit France.

In the summer of 1831–1832 Te Rauparaha attacked Kaiapoi Pā. After a three-month siege, a fire in the pā allowed Ngāti Toa to overcome it. Ngāti Toa then attacked Ngāi Tahu on Banks Peninsula and took the pā at Onawe. In 1832–33 Ngāi Tahu retaliated under the leadership of Tūhawaiki, Taiaroa, Karetai, and Haereroa, attacking Ngāti Toa at Lake Grassmere. Ngāi Tahu prevailed, and killed many Ngāti Toa, although Te Rauparaha again escaped.

In 1834 Chief Iwikau of Ngāti Rangiāmoa (senior line of Ngāi Tuahuriri), brother of Te Maiharanui, led a war party into the Marlborough Sounds, though Ngāti Toa had hidden from them and could not be found. The campaign was known as 'Oraumoanui' or 'Tauanui'.[24]

Fighting continued for a year or so, with Ngāi Tahu maintaining the upper hand. In 1836 Chief Te Pūoho of Ngāti Tama, allied to Ngāti Toa, led his taua from Whanganui Inlet down to the West Coast to the Haast River. From there he crossed the Haast Pass into central Otago and Southland. Tūhawaiki had by now learned of this oncoming attack, and led his own taua from Ruapuke Island to Tuturau, where he fought and killed Te Pūoho.[3]

Ngāti Toa never again made a major incursion into Ngāi Tahu territory. By 1839 Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Toa established peace and Te Rauparaha released the Ngāi Tahu captives he held at Kapiti. Formal marriages between the leading families in the two tribes sealed the peace.[3]

Treaty of WaitangiEdit

In 1840 more than 500 chiefs from all over New Zealand signed the Treaty of Waitangi with representatives of the Crown. Only one sheet was used in the South Island - the Herald (Bunbury) sheet carried with Major Thomas Bunbury aboard HMS Herald which sailed from the Bay of Islands on 28 April.[25] The Cook Strait (Henry Williams) sheet was used at Arapaoa Island and Rangitoto ki te Tonga / D'Urville Island at the northern end of the South Island, but was not signed by Ngāi Tahu.[26]

The sheet's first four signatures came from Coromandel Harbour one week later on 4 May, and the next two were signed aboard the HMS Herald just off the Mercury Islands on 7 May. These signatures were collectively from the tribes Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāti Pāoa, and Ngāti Maru.[25]

The first Ngāi Tahu signatory was Chief Iwikau at Akaroa on 30 May, followed by Hone Tīkao signing as John Love.[25] His nephew was Hone Taare Tikao.

The third Ngāi Tahu signatory was Chief Tūhawaiki signing as John Touwaick aboard the HMS Herald at Ruapuke Island on 10 June, who requested Kaikoura (possibly Kaikōura Whakatau) to sign on the same day, who was then followed by Taiaroa (or Tararoa; possibly Te Matenga Taiaroa).

The last Ngāi Tahu signatures were from Otago Heads on 13 June. The signatories were Hone Karetai of Ngāti Ruahikihiki, Ngāi Te Kahukura, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, and Ngāti Hinekura signing as John Karitai at Ōtākou, and one Korako of Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāti Huirapa whose identity is not known for certain, but could be either Hōne Wētere Kōrako, Kōrako Karetai, or Hoani Kōrako among others.[27]

The last signatures mostly came from members of Ngāti Toa at Te Koko-o-Kupe / Cloudy Bay (17 June) and Mana Island (19 June) - including Te Rauparaha who had already signed the Cook Strait (Henry Williams) sheet on 14 May - and from three Ngāti Kahungunu members at Hawke's Bay on 24 June, amounting to a total of 27 signatures for the sheet.[25]

20th centuryEdit

Sculpture of Tipene O'Regan, rangatira, kaumatua, writer, orator, teacher and principal negotiator of the Ngai Tahu settlement

World War eraEdit

Over 270 individuals of Ngāi Tahu connection served during World War I, including some who fought with the New Zealand (Māori) Pioneer Battalion. A handful of notable servicemen included: Turu Rakerawa Hiroti, Hoani Parata, James William Tepene, and John Charles Tamanuiarangi Tikao, all of whom held the rank of captain. One soldier born of chiefly ranking was Private Hohepa Teihoka of Kaiapoi, who was nearly 19 years old when he arrived in Dardanelles in July 1915.[28][29]

George Henry West was supposedly the first Māori pilot to join the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1936. During a training flight on the night of 11 May 1939, his student accidentally undershot a landing exercise. West died of his injuries the following day.[30]

Turu Rakerewa Hiroti and John Charles Tamanuiarangi Tikao would go on to serve during World War II. The former serving as a recruitment officer,[31] and the latter serving as a captain with the Māori Battalion.[32]

Modern historyEdit

The New Zealand Parliament passed the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act in 1998 to record an apology from the Crown and to settle claims made under the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. One of the Act's provisions covered the use of dual (Māori and English) names for geographical locations in the Ngāi Tahu tribal area. The recognised tribal authority, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, is based in Christchurch and in Invercargill.[2]


In the nineteenth century many Ngāi Tahu, particularly in the southern reaches of Te Wai Pounamu, spoke a distinct dialect of the Māori language, sometimes referred to as Southern Māori, which was so different from the northern version of the language that missionary Rev. James Watkin, based at Karitane found materials prepared by North Island missions couldn't be used in Otago.[33] However, from the 20th century until the early 21st century the dialect came close to extinction and was officially discouraged.[34]

Southern Māori contains almost all the same phonemes as other Māori dialects (namely: /a, e, i, o, u, f, h, k, m, n, p, r, t, w/), along with the same diphthongs. But it lacks /ŋ/ ("ng") — this sound merged with /k/ in prehistoric times: for example: Ngāi Tahu as opposed to Kāi Tahu). This change did not occur in the northern part of the Ngāi Tahu area, and the possible presence of additional phonemes (/b, p, l, r/) has been debated. Non-standard consonants are sometimes identified in the spellings of South Island place names, such as g (as distinct from k, e.g., Katigi, Otago), v (e.g., Mavora), l instead of r (e.g., Little Akaloa, Kilmog, Waihola, Rakiula), and w or u instead of wh as reflecting dialect difference, but similar spellings and pronunciations also occur in the North Island (e.g. Tolaga Bay, Booai (Pūhoi)).[33]

The apocope (the dropping of the final vowel of words) resulting from pronunciations like 'Wacky-white' for "Waikouaiti" have been identified with Southern Māori. However, the devoicing (rather than apocope) of final vowels occurs in the speech of native speakers of the Māori language throughout New Zealand, and the pronunciation of the names of North Island towns by locals often omits final vowels as well, like in the pronunciation of "Paraparam" or "Waiuk".[33]


Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (TRoNT) is the governance entity of Ngāi Tahu, following the Treaty of Waitangi settlement between the iwi and the New Zealand Government under Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998.[35] It is also a mandated iwi organisation under the Māori Fisheries Act 2004, an iwi aquaculture organisation under the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004, an iwi authority under the Resource Management Act 1991 and a Tūhono organisation. It also represents Ngāi Tahu Whanui, the collective of hapū including Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, and Ngāi Tahu, including, Ngāti Kuri, Ngāti Irakehu, Ngāti Huirapa, Ngāi Tuahuriri, and Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, under Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Act 1996.[36][2]

The interests of Ngāi Tahu cover a wide range of regions, including the territories of Tasman District Council, Marlborough District Council, West Coast Regional Council, Environment Canterbury, Otago Regional Council and Environment Southland, and the district councils which make up these regional councils.[2]

Papatipu rūnanga/runaka, as constituent areas of Ngāi Tahu, each have an elected board which then elect a representative to Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Kāi Tahu has a very corporate structure, in part due to the death of an important Upoko Ariki (paramount chief), Te Maiharanui, at the time of the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand.[why?] Under the Resource Management Act, both the trust and local papatipu rūnanga should be consulted with about natural resource matters. The 18 representatives of papatipu runanga oversee Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu as a charitable trust. As of 2016, the acting kaiwhakahaere (chairman) is Lisa Tumahai, the chief executive officer is Arihia Bennett, the general counsel is Chris Ford, and the trust is based in Addington, Christchurch.[2]

Rūnanga and maraeEdit

Canterbury rūnangaEdit

Ngāi Tahu has 9 rūnanga (governance areas) in Canterbury:

Otago rūnangaEdit

Ngāi Tahu has 3 rūnanga (governance areas) in Otago:

  • Te Runanga o Moeraki centres on Moeraki and extends from Waitaki to Waihemo and inland to the Main Divide.[37] Moeraki marae in located in Moeraki and includes Uenuku meeting house.[2]
  • Kati Huirapa ki Puketeraki centres on Karitane and extends from Waihemo to Purehurehu and includes an interest in Otepoti (Dunedin) and the greater harbour of Otakou. The takiwa extends inland to the Main Divide, sharing an interest in the lakes and mountains to Whakatipu-Waitai with Runanga to the south.[37] The Huirapa hapū have the Puketeraki marae in Karitāne.[2]
  • Te Runanga o Otakou centres on Otakou and extends from Purehurehu to Te Matau and inland, sharing an interest in the lakes and mountains to the western coast with Runanga to the north and to the south (includes the city of Dunedin).[37] The Ōtākou marae is located at Otago Heads, and includes the Tamatea meeting house.[2]

West Coast rūnangaEdit

Ngāi Tahu has 2 rūnanga (governance areas) in Westland:

  • Te Runanga o Makaawhio centres on Mahitahi (Bruce Bay) and extends from the south bank of the Pouerua River to Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) and inland to the Main Divide, together with a shared interest with Te Runaka o Kati Waewae in the area situated between the north bank of the Pouerua River and the south bank of the Hokitika River.[37] The runanga's marae, Te Tauraka Waka a Maui, at Mahitahi, officially opened on 23 January 2005. Southern Westland, only thinly settled by Māori, had — uniquely in the iwi's region — lacked a marae for 140 years.[38] The marae includes the Kaipo meeting house.[2]
  • Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae centres on Arahura and Hokitika and extends from the north bank of the Hokitika River to Kahuraki and inland to the Main Divide, together with a shared interest with Te Runanga o Makaawhio in the area situated between the north bank of the Pouerua River and the south bank of the Hokitika River. Ned Tauwhare is currently chair of the Runanga.[37] Arahura marae north of Hotikia includes the Tūhuru meeting house.[2]

Southland rūnangaEdit

Ngāi Tahu has 4 rūnanga (governance areas) in Southland:

  • Waihopai Runaka centres on Waihopai (Invercargill) and extends northwards to Te Matau sharing an interest in the lakes and mountains to the western coast with other Murihiku (Southland) Runanga and those located from Waihemo (Dunback) southwards.[37] The Murihiku marae and Te Rakitauneke meeting house are located in Invercargill.[2]
  • Te Runanga o Awarua centres on Awarua and extends to the coasts and estuaries adjoining Waihopai sharing an interest in the lakes and mountains between Whakatipu-Waitai and Tawhititarere with other Murihiku (Southland) Runanga and those located from Waihemo southwards.[37] Its marae, Te Rau Aroha, is located at Bluff, and includes Tahu Potiki meeting house.[2]
  • Te Runanga o Oraka Aparima centres on Oraka (Colac Bay) and extends from Waimatuku to Tawhititarere sharing an interest in the lakes and mountains from Whakatipu-Waitai to Tawhititarere with other Murihiku Runanga and those located from Waihemo southwards.[37] The rūnanga has a marae, Takutai o te Titi, in Riverton.[2]
  • Hokonui Rūnanga centres on the Hokonui region and includes a shared interest in the lakes and mountains between Whakatipu-Waitai and Tawhitarere with other Murihiku Runanga and those located from Waihemo southwards.[37] Its marae, O Te Ika Rama, is located in Gore.[2]

Trading enterpriseEdit

Shotover Jet in Queenstown is one of several assets owned by Ngāi Tahu Holdings

Ngāi Tahu actively owns or invests in many businesses throughout the country. In the 2008 financial year, Ngāi Tahu Holdings had a net surplus of $80.4 million, of which $11.5 million was distributed to members of the iwi via runanga and whanau.[39]


Primary industriesEdit

  • Ngāi Tahu Seafood
  • 31 forests totaling more than 100,000 hectares

Property and other investmentsEdit

Ngāi Tahu Property currently has assets with a market value in excess of $550 million. Ngāi Tahu has an investment portfolio of prime properties including:[41]

  • Akaroa residential developments
  • Armstrong Prestige, Christchurch
  • Christchurch Civic Building
  • Christchurch Courts Complex
  • The former Christchurch Police Station site[42]
  • Christchurch Post Building (with Christchurch City Council)
  • Christchurch residential developments
  • Dunedin Police Station
  • Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools
  • Governor's Bay residential developments
  • Iveagh Bay Terraces
  • Lincoln Farm subdivision (with Lincoln University)
  • Mahaanui Office (for Department of Conservation)
  • O'Regans Wharf, Lake Esplanade, Queenstown
  • Building 4 (Queenstown Courts Building)
  • Queenstown Police Station
  • Pig and Whistle, Queenstown
  • Ryman Healthcare (40 million shares)
  • Sockburn Business Park, Blenheim Road
  • St Omer Wharf, Queenstown
  • Tower Junction Village, Addington
  • Tower Junction Megacentre, Christchurch
  • Turners Car Auctions, Addington
  • Tumara Park
  • Wigram Air Base, Christchurch.
  • Wigram National Trade Academy
  • Wigram Village[43]

Tahu FMEdit

Tahu FM is the iwi's official radio station. It began as Christchurch's Te Reo Iriraki Ki Otautahi on 6 February 1991. Between 1996 and 2001, it formed a broadcasting partnership with Mai FM and began playing more urban contemporary music.[44] It changed its name to Tahu FM in December 1997, and briefly changed its name to Mai FM in 1999 before reverting to Tahu FM.[45] It broadcasts in Christchurch on 90.5 FM. In 2000 it began broadcasting Kaikoura on 90.7 FM, Dunedin on 95.0 FM, Invercargill on 99.6 FM, and around the country on 505 Sky Digital.[46]

Tahu FM resumed broadcasting five days after the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, with assistance from Te Upoko O Te Ika and other iwi radio stations, and operated as the city's Māori language civil defence station.[47] In December 2014 it was recognised as the country's highest-rating Māori radio station.[48][49][50]

Notable Ngāi TahuEdit


  1. ^ "2013 Census iwi individual profiles: Ngāi Tahu / Kāi Tahu". Stats NZ. Retrieved 12 June 2017.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "Rohe". Te Puni Kōkiri, New Zealand Government. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Ngāi Tahu by Te Maire Tau". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Manawa Kāi Tahu – Te Kurī o Tūtekohi". Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  5. ^ "The ancestor Paikea". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Ngai-Tahu, Notes Relating to, By Rahera Tainui, P 221-235". Journal of the Polynesian Society. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  7. ^ a b c "Tahupōtiki and his descendants". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Manawa Kāi Tahu – Waiata mō Huirapa". Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Retrieved 13 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b c d "Journal of the Polynesian Society: Traditions and legends. Collected from the natives of Murihiku. (Southland, New Zealand) Part XIV, by H. Beattie, p 134-144". Journal of the Polynesian Society. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "Papanui". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  11. ^ "Te heke-o-nga-toko-toru. (The migration of the three.) by George Graham, p 190-192". Journal of the Polynesian Society. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Notes and queries, p 385-387". Journal of the Polynesian Society. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d "Tūāhuriri". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Tūtekawa". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Makō (Makō-ha-kirikiri)". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  16. ^ "Marukaitātea (Maru)". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  17. ^ a b c "Moki". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  18. ^ "Te Rakiwhakaputa". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Tūrakautahi". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Te Ruahikihiki". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Battle of Waitaramea - Battlefields on". Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  22. ^ Bluff history - an overview Archived 14 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine (from the '' website. Retrieved 14 December 2008.)
  23. ^ "Captain Stewart and the Elizabeth – a frontier of chaos?". Manatū Taonga: Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  24. ^ "Iwikau". Manatū Taonga: Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  25. ^ a b c d "Herald Bunbury treaty copy". Manatū Taonga: Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  26. ^ ""Henry Williams treaty copy"". "Manatū Taonga: Ministry for Culture and Heritage". Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  27. ^ "Kōrako". Manatū Taonga: Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  28. ^ "Roll of Honour - He Rau Mahara". Ngāi Tahu Whakapapa Unit. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  29. ^ "From the pā to the battlefields of the Great War". Ngāi Tahu. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  30. ^ "George West Neighbourhood - Wigram Skies". Ngāi Tahu. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  31. ^ "Turu Hiroti". Auckland War Memorial Museum. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  32. ^ "John Charles Tamanuiarangi Tikao - 28th Maori Battalion". 28th Māori Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  33. ^ a b c Harlow, R. (1987). A word-list of South Island Maori. Auckland: Linguistic Society of New Zealand. ISBN 0-9597603-2-6
  34. ^ Harlow, R.B. (1979). ""Regional Variation in Maori". New Zealand Journal of Archaeology, 1, 123–138.
  35. ^ For example: "Research". Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Retrieved 16 June 2014. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (TRoNT) is regularly approached by researchers and organisations seeking engagement, advice or support for various research projects.
  36. ^ "Papatipu Rūnanga". Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu (Declaration of Membership) Order 2001". New Zealand Government. Archived from the original on 13 November 2006. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  38. ^ "Marae project". Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
  39. ^ Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu, Annual Report 2008, page 85
  40. ^ [1] Archived 8 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^ [2][dead link]
  42. ^ McDonald, Liz (10 August 2017). "Ngāi Tahu's new $85m Christchurch office complex will 'strengthen city's mana'". The Press. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  43. ^ [3] Archived 20 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ "Tahu FM in joint venture with Auckland Station". 5 (9). Te Māori. p. 7.
  45. ^ Reedy, Lisa (1999). "Tahu FM becomes Mai FM; Aroha mai, aroha atu – 'the things we do for love'" (10). AUT University. Te Karaka : the Ngāi Tahu magazine. pp. 12–13.
  46. ^ "Kaitaia". Welcome to the Radio Vault. New Zealand: The Radio Vault. 23 July 2009. Archived from the original on 22 January 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  47. ^ "Iwi radio stations stand together in wake of earthquake". Human Rights Commission. Nga Reo Tangata: Media and Diversity Network. 16 March 2011. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
  48. ^ "Iwi Radio Coverage" (PDF). Māori Media Network. 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  49. ^ Peata Melbourne. "Tahu FM named top iwi radio station in the country". Television New Zealand. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  50. ^ Reedy, Lisa (1999). "Tahu FM becomes Mai FM; Aroha mai, aroha atu – 'the things we do for love'". Te Karaka : The Ngāi Tahu Magazine (10): 12–13. ISSN 1173-6011.

External linksEdit