Ngāti Porou

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Ngāti Porou
Iwi (tribe) in Māoridom
Rohe (region)East Cape and Gisborne region
Waka (canoe)Horouta

Ngāti Porou is a Māori iwi traditionally located in the East Cape and Gisborne regions of the North Island of New Zealand. Ngāti Porou is affiliated with the 28th Maori Battalion and has the second-largest affiliation of any iwi in New Zealand, with 71,910 registered members in 2006.[2] The traditional rohe or tribal area of Ngāti Porou extends from Pōtikirua and Lottin Point in the north to Te Toka-a-Taiau (a rock that used to sit in the mouth of Gisborne harbour) in the south.[3]

Mt Hikurangi features prominently in Ngāti Porou traditions as a symbol of endurance and strength, and holds tapu status. In these traditions, Hikurangi is often personified. Ngāti Porou traditions indicate that Hikurangi was the first point to surface when Māui fished up the North Island from beneath the ocean. His canoe, the Nuku-tai-memeha, is said to have been wrecked there. The Waiapu River also features in Ngāti Porou traditions.[4][5]


Ngāti Porou paepae pātaka (threshold of a storehouse) in the Waiapu Valley
Wharenui (meeting house) in Waiomatatini, 1896, named Porourangi after the ancestor Ngāti Porou derive their name from.[6]

Pre-European history[edit]

Ngāti Porou takes its name from the ancestor Porourangi, also known as Porou Ariki.[7] He was a direct descendant of Toi-kai-rākau, Māui (accredited in oral tradition with raising the North Island from the sea), and Paikea the whale rider.[4][5]

Although Ngāti Porou claim the Nukutaimemeha as their foundation canoe, many Ngāti Porou ancestors arrived on different canoes, including Horouta, Tākitimu and Tereanini. The descendants of Porourangi and Toi formed groups that spread across the East Cape through conquest and through strategic marriage alliances.[4][5]

Genealogical associations with other iwi also arise through direct descent from Ngāti Porou ancestors:

  • Kahungunu, descending from Ueroa (the second son of Porourangi), is the founding ancestor of Ngāti Kahungunu.
  • Taua, descended from Kahungunu, is a prominent ancestor in Te Whānau-ā-Apanui genealogy.
  • Ngāti Raukawa and the Tainui iwi have association through Porourangi's daughter Rongomaianiwaniwa and through the marriage of the ancestress Māhinaarangi to Tūrongo.
  • Tahupōtiki, younger-brother to the Porourangi, is Ngāi Tahu's founding ancestor.[4][5]

Colonial history[edit]

Ngāti Porou sustained heavy losses over the course of the Musket Wars, a period of heightened warfare between iwi unleashed by the adoption of firearms and resulting power imbalances. The iwi's first experience of musket warfare came in 1819, when a raid by Ngāpuhi rangatira Te Morenga led to the capture and killing of many members, including two rangatira.[8] That same year a second attack by Hongi Hika of Ngāpuhi and Te Haupa of Ngāti Maru targeted the iwi’s at Wharekahika Bay, but Te Haupa was slain and the raid was repelled at the cost of heavy casualties.[9] Heavy defeats came at the hands of a raiding party led by the Ngāpuhi rangatira Pōmare I and Te Wera Hauraki, who through force and guile sacked the pā of Okauwharetoa and Te Whetumatarau near Te Araroa. Te Wera Hauraki’s forces would then move on to sack additional pā in the area of Waiapu River and Whareponga Bay.[10] A final defeat at the hands of Ngāpuhi took place in 1823, when a preemptive attack by a large army of Ngāti Porou warriors on Pōmare’s trespassing forces in Te Araroa was cut down in open field by musket fire. The rangatira Taotaoriri was then able to negotiate a favorable peace between the two iwi, a deal sealed by his marriage to the Ngāti Porou noblewoman Hikupoto and the return of Rangi-i-paea, who had been abducted and married to Pōmare in a previous raid.[11] This peace was to have important religious consequences, as a number of Ngāti Porou rangatira freed by Ngāpuhi in later negotiations would go on to spread the Christianity they had adopted from European missionaries during the course of their captivity.[12]

A second wave of violence rocked Ngāti Porou starting in 1829, when the presence of Ngāti Porou passengers on the ship where the Ngāti Awa rangatira Ngarara was assassinated by Ngāpuhi marked the iwi as a target for retribution.[13] Minor raids by Ngāti Awa and their allies Whakatōhea and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui in 1829 and 1831 resulted in the deaths of some Ngāti Porou, which triggered retaliatory action from the iwi.[13] In 1832 Ngāti Porou joined forces with Ngāpuhi, Rongowhakaata, and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki to seize Kekeparaoa pā and expel the four hundred Whakatōhea members who had come to occupy it after being unilaterally invited to do so by a Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki hapū.[14] A second 1832 raid, this time against Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, did not meet with the same success, as the defenders of Wharekura pā rebuffed the attackers and slew two Ngāti Porou rangatira.[15] Two years later, a retaliatory raid by Te Whānau-ā-Apanui was in turn rebuffed by forces under the rangatira Kakatarau, whose father Pakura was killed at Wharekura.[15] Ngāti Porou then joined forces with Te Wera’s Ngāpuhi and Te Kani-a-Takirau’s Rongowhakaata to attack Te Whānau-ā-Apanui at Te Kaha Point’s formidable Toka a Kuku pā. After six months of siege and heavy fighting, including the defeat of numerous sorties and the routing of a relief force of fourteen hundred warriors from Whakatōhea, Ngāi Tai, and Ngāti Awa, the attackers eventually proved unable to seize the pā and returned home.[16] The extraordinary battlefield feats of the Christian Ngāti Porou rangatira Piripi Taumata-a-Kura lent him enormous prestige, which he soon leveraged to convert other Ngāti Porou rangatira and lead Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Ngāti Porou to a peace accord in 1837.[17]

The waning of the Musket Wars and the unifying influence of Christianity ushered in a period of relative calm and cultural development. Ngāti Porou chiefs were also signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Ngāti Porou experienced substantial economic growth during the 1850s.[4][5]

During the 1860s, the Pai Mārire religious movement spread through the North Island, and eventually came into conflict with the New Zealand Government. From 1865–1870, a civil war emerged within Ngāti Porou between Pai Mārire converts seeking the creation of an independent Māori state (supported by Pai Mārire from other regions) and other Ngāti Porou advocating tribal sovereignty and independence. This conflict is generally viewed as part of the East Cape War.[4][5]

Modern history[edit]

Ngāti Porou once again enjoyed peace and economic prosperity during the late 19th century. The 1890s saw the emergence of Sir Āpirana Ngata, who contributed greatly to the revitalisation of the Māori people. During the early 20th century, the population of Ngāti Porou increased substantially. They were active in their participation in both World Wars.[4][5]

After World War II, large numbers of Ngāti Porou began emigrating from traditional tribal lands and moving into larger urban areas, in a trend reflected throughout New Zealand. A large portion of the tribal population now lives in Auckland and Wellington.[4][5]

Hapū and marae[edit]

Name[3] Rohe (tribal area)[3] Marae (meeting grounds)[3] Location[3]
Ngāi Taharora Waiapu ki Tawhiti Taharora Waipiro Bay
Ngāi Tamakoro Potikirua ki Waiapu Tutua Te Araroa
Ngāi Tangihaere Waiapu ki Tawhiti Kariaka, Ruataupare, Whareponga Ruatoria
Ngāi Tāne Potikirua ki Waiapu Hinepare, Ōhinewaiapu Rangitukia
Ngāi Tutekohi Tawhiti ki Rototahe Hauiti Tolaga Bay
Ngāti Hau Tawhiti ki Rototahe Hinetamatea Anaura Bay
Ngāti Hokopū Potikirua ki Waiapu Hinepare, Ōhinewaiapu Rangitukia
Ngāti Horowai Waiapu ki Tawhiti Te Horo Port Awanui
Ngāti Ira Tawhiti ki Rototahe Ōkurī, Tuatini Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay
Ngāti Kahu Potikirua ki Waiapu Punaruku Hicks Bay
Ngāti Kahukuranui Tawhiti ki Rototahe Hauiti, Hinemaurea ki Mangatuna, Ōkurī Tolaga Bay
Ngāti Kōnohi Rototahe ki Te Toka a Taiau Te Poho o Rawiri, Whāngārā Kaitī, Whāngārā
Ngāti Nua Potikirua ki Waiapu Hinepare, Ōhinewaiapu Rangitukia
Ngāti Oneone Rototahe ki Te Toka a Taiau Te Poho o Rawiri Kaitī
Ngāti Patu Whare Tawhiti ki Rototahe Te Rawheoro Tolaga Bay
Ngāti Putaanga Potikirua ki Waiapu Kaiwaka, Putaanga Tikitiki
Ngāti Rangi Waiapu ki Tawhiti Reporua Ruatoria
Ngāti Tuere Potikirua ki Waiapu Hinemaurea ki Wharekahika, Hinerupe, Tutua Rangitukia, Hicks Bay
Ngāti Uepōhatu Waiapu ki Tawhiti Mangahanea Marae, Uepōhatu, Umuariki Ruatoria, Tūpāroa
Ngāti Wakarara Tawhiti ki Rototahe Hinetamatea Tokomaru Bay
Te Aitanga a Hauiti Tawhiti ki Rototahe Hauiti, Te Rawheoro Tolaga Bay
Te Aitanga a Materoa Waiapu ki Tawhiti Hiruhārama, Penu Marae, Rongohaere, Whareponga Ruatoria
Te Aowera Waiapu ki Tawhiti Hiruhārama, Te Aowera Ruatoria
Te Whānau a Hineauta Waiapu ki Tawhiti Tikapa Tikapa
Te Whānau a Hinekehu Waiapu ki Tawhiti Kariaka, Rauru Ruatoria
Te Whānau a Hinepare Potikirua ki Waiapu Hinepare , Awatere, Hinerupe, Hurae, Kaiwaka, Rāhui Rangitukia, Te Araroa, Tikitiki
Te Whānau a Hinetāpora Waiapu ki Tawhiti Mangahanea Marae, Te Heapera Ruatoria
Te Whānau a Hunaara Potikirua ki Waiapu Matahī o Te Tau, Ōhinewaiapu Horoera, Rangitukia
Te Whānau a Iritekura Waiapu ki Tawhiti Iritekura Waipiro Bay
Te Whānau a Karuwai Potikirua ki Waiapu Hinerupe, Karuwai, Waiomatatini Te Araroa, Tikitiki, Ruatoria
Te Whānau a Mahaki Waiapu ki Tawhiti Te Horo Port Awanui
Te Whānau a Pōkai Waiapu ki Tawhiti Tikapa Tikapa
Te Whānau a Rākaihoea Waiapu ki Tawhiti Kākāriki Waiomatatini
Te Whānau a Rākaimataura Potikirua ki Waiapu Rāhui Tikitiki
Te Whānau a Rākairoa Waiapu ki Tawhiti Akuaku, Kie Kie Waipiro Bay, Ruatoria
Te Whānau a Rerewa Potikirua ki Waiapu Hinepare, Ōhinewaiapu Rangitukia
Te Whānau a Ruataupare ki Tokomaru Tawhiti ki Rototahe Pakirikiri, Tuatini, Waiparapara Tokomaru Bay
Te Whanau a Ruataupare ki Tuparoa Waiapu ki Tawhiti Tūpāroa Tūpāroa
Te Whānau a Takimoana Potikirua ki Waiapu Ōhinewaiapu Rangitukia
Te Whānau a Tapuaeururangi Potikirua ki Waiapu Pōtaka Pōtaka
Te Whānau a Tāpuhi Potikirua ki Waiapu Taumata o Tapuhi Rangitukia
Te Whānau a Te Aotakī Potikirua ki Waiapu Hinemaurea ki Wharekahika Hicks Bay
Te Whānau a Te Aotawarirangi Tawhiti ki Rototahe Te Ariuru Tokomaru Bay
Te Whānau a Te Haemata Waiapu ki Tawhiti Kie Kie Waipiro Bay
Te Whānau a Te Rangipureora Tawhiti ki Rototahe Puketawai Marae Tolaga Bay
Te Whānau a Te Uruahi Potikirua ki Waiapu Tinātoka Marae Tikitiki
Te Whanau a Tinatoka Potikirua ki Waiapu Te Poho o Tinatoka Tikitiki
Te Whānau a Tuwhakairiora Potikirua ki Waiapu Hinemaurea ki Wharekahika, Hinerupe Hicks Bay, Te Araroa
Te Whānau a Umuariki Waiapu ki Tawhiti Umuariki Tūpāroa
Te Whānau a Uruhonea Waiapu ki Tawhiti Te Horo Port Awanui


Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou was established in 1987 to be the tribal authority of the iwi. It is organised into a whānau and hapū development branch, economic development branch, and a corporate services branch, and aims to maintain the financial, physical and spiritual assets of the tribe.[18] The common law trust is overseen by a board, with two representatives from each of the seven ancestral zones. As of 2022, the Rūnanga is based in Gisborne, and is chaired by Selwyn Parata, with George Reedy as the chief executive.

The trust administers Treaty of Waitangi settlements under the Ngati Porou Claims Settlement Act, represents the iwi under the Māori Fisheries Act, and is the official iwi authority for resource consent consultation under the Resource Management Act. Its rohe is contained within the territory of Gisborne District Council, which is both a regional and district council.[3]


Radio Ngāti Porou is the official station of Ngāti Porou. It is based in Ruatoria and broadcasts on 89.3 FM in Tikitiki, 90.5 FM at Tolaga Bay, 93.3 FM in Gisborne, 98.1 FM in Ruatoria, and 105.3 FM at Hicks Bay.[19][20]

Notable people[edit]

There are many notable people who are affiliated to Ngāti Porou. This is a list of some of them.

Georgina Beyer 2018
George Nēpia 1935
Iritana Tawhiwhirangi DNZM


  1. ^ "2013 Census iwi individual profiles: Ngāti Porou". Stats NZ. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  2. ^ "2006 Census – QuickStats About Māori (revised)". Statistics New Zealand. 2007-04-04. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-25.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "TKM Ngāti Porou". Te Puni Kōkiri, New Zealand Government. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Mahuika AT (1993-05-25). "History: Porourangi & Ngāti Porou". Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou. Archived from the original on 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Reedy, Tamati Muturangi (2006-12-21). "Ngāti Porou". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  6. ^ Reedy, Tamati Muturangi (24 September 2011). "Ngāti Porou: Porourangi whare, Waiomatatini". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Wellington, New Zealand: Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  7. ^ Ngata, Apirana Turupa; Te Hurinui, Pei (1970). Nga moteatea: he maramara rere no nga waka maha, he mea kohikohi na A.T. Ngata; na Pei Te Hurinui i whakapakeha. Vol. 3. The Polynesian Society. p. 323. Retrieved 2015-05-26. That line traces out to Porou-rangi, whose (original?) name was Porou-ariki te mata-tara-a-whare, and Te Tuhi-marei-kura of Rauru.
  8. ^ Crosby, Ron (2020). The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today. Auckland: Oratia Books. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-947506-79-7.
  9. ^ Crosby, Ron. The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today. Auckland: Oratia Books. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-947506-79-7.
  10. ^ Crosby, Ron (2020). The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today. Auckland: Oratia Books. pp. 44–45. ISBN 978-0-947506-79-7.
  11. ^ Crosby, Ron (2020). The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today. Auckland: Oratia Books. pp. 61–62. ISBN 978-0-947506-79-7.
  12. ^ Crosby, Ron (2020). The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today. Auckland: Oratia Books. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-947506-79-7.
  13. ^ a b Crosby, Ron (2020). The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today. Auckland: Oratia Books. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-947506-79-7.
  14. ^ Crosby, Ron (2020). The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today. Auckland: Oratia Books. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-947506-79-7.
  15. ^ a b Crosby, Ron (2020). The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today. Auckland: Oratia Books. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-947506-79-7.
  16. ^ Crosby, Ron (2020). The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today. Auckland: Oratia Books. pp. 166–167. ISBN 978-0-947506-79-7.
  17. ^ Crosby, Ron (2020). The Forgotten Wars: Why the Musket Wars Matter Today. Auckland: Oratia Books. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-947506-79-7.
  18. ^ "Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou mission statement". Archived from the original on 2008-01-17. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
  19. ^ "Radio Ngati Porou". Radio Ngati Porou. RNP. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Iwi Radio Coverage" (PDF). Māori Media Network. 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  21. ^ Mahi Tahi Media (16 September 2021). "'35' by Kao Hao feat Rob Ruha is the TikTok anthem of Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori". Re. TVNZ. Retrieved 3 October 2021.
  22. ^ "Rob Ruha's Biography". The Arts Foundation. Retrieved 14 December 2021.

External links[edit]