Ngāti Whātua

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Ngāti Whātua
Iwi of New Zealand
Rohe (location) Northland and Auckland
Waka (canoe) Māhuhu-ki-te-rangi

Ngāti Whātua is a Māori iwi (tribe) of the Northland Peninsula and Auckland in New Zealand.[1] It is a confederation of four hapū (subtribes) interconnected both by ancestry and by association over time.[1] The four hapū are Te Uri-o-Hau, Te Roroa, Te Taoū, and Ngāti Whātua-o-Ōrākei. The four hapū can act together or separately as independent tribes.[2]

Ngāti Whātua's territory or rohe is traditionally expressed as: Tāmaki ki Maunganui i te Tai Hauauru and Tāmaki ki Manaia i te Rawhiti. The northern boundary is expressed as: Manaia titiro ki Whatitiri, Whatitiri titiro ki Tutamoe, Tutamoe titiro ki Maunganui. The southern boundary is expressed as: Te awa o Tāmaki. The area runs from Tāmaki River in the south, to Maunganui Bluff (at the northern end of Aranga Beach on the west coast) in the north, and to Whangarei Harbour on the east coast.[1] By the time of European settlement in New Zealand, Ngāti Whātua's territory was around the Kaipara Harbour and stretching south to Tāmaki Makaurau, the site of present-day Auckland.

Ngāti Whātua is descended from the ancestor Tuputupuwhenua (also known as Tumutumuwhenua), and trace their arrival in New Zealand to the Māhuhu-ki-te-rangi canoe, which landed north of the Kaipara Harbour. They also descend from ancestors who migrated from Muriwhenua in the Far North and intermarried with the tribes in Ngāti Whātua's territory.[2]

Rivalry with Ngāpuhi escalated in the early 19th century when Ngāpuhi acquired muskets. They attacked Ngāti Whātua in 1807 or 1808 in the battle of Moremonui north of Dargaville, probably the first use of firearms in Māori warfare. Ngāti Whātua overcame the Ngāpuhi warriors with hand weapons while Ngapuhi were reloading their muskets, winning a decisive victory over the attackers. Ngāpuhi, led by Hongi Hika, exacted revenge in 1825 when they defeated Ngāti Whātua in the battle of Te Ika a Ranganui near Kaiwaka.

Wishing to attract European settlement in their area, and in hopes of avoiding future requisition by unsatisfied officials, Ngāti Whātua offered land at Tāmaki Makaurau to Governor William Hobson in 1840. Hobson took up the offer and moved the capital of New Zealand to Tāmaki Makaurau, naming the settlement Auckland.

Ngāti Whātua came to national prominence in the 1970s in a dispute over vacant land at Bastion Point, a little way east of the Auckland city centre, adjoining the suburb of Orakei. The land, which had been acquired cheaply for public works many decades before, was largely returned to the tribe after a long occupation and passive resistance.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b c "Te rohe o Ngāti Whātua: our area". Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Taonui, Rāwiri (22 September 2012). "Ngāti Whātua - Origins". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Bastion Point - The Untold Story",
  4. ^ Royal, Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal (11 July 2013). "Police cordon, Bastion Point". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 

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