Ngāti Awa

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Ngāti Awa
Iwi of New Zealand
Pūtauaki, ancestral mountain of Ngāti Awa.
Rohe (region) Bay of Plenty Region
Waka (canoe) Mataatua
Population 15,258

Ngāti Awa is a Māori iwi (tribe) centred in the eastern Bay of Plenty Region of New Zealand.

Ngāti Awa comprises 22 hapu (subtribes), with 15,258 people claiming affiliation to the iwi in 2006.[1] The Ngāti Awa people are primarily located in towns on the Rangitaiki Plain, including Whakatane, Kawerau, Edgecumbe, Te Teko and Matata. Two urban hapu also exist in Auckland (Ngāti Awa-ki-Tamaki) and Wellington (Ngāti Awa-ki-Poneke).


Early history[edit]

Ngāti Awa traces its origins to the arrival of Māori settlers on the Mataatua waka (canoe). The Mataatua settlers established settlements in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. Initially, the tribe controlled a large area in Northland, but conflicts with other northern iwi resulted in a southward migration. One group eventually settled in the eastern Bay of Plenty, whose descendants would eventually found the iwi.

Awanuiarangi II is recognised as the eponymous ancestor of Ngāti Awa. Awanuiarangi II was a chief descended from Toroa, captain of the Mataatua. Descendants of Awanuiarangi II eventually formed their own iwi, Ngāti Awa, named after their ancestor.

Tribal and land wars[edit]

Ngāti Awa was frequently at war with neighbouring iwi, including those with similar ancestry. Ngāti Awa initially had good trading relations with European settlers. However, the New Zealand Land Wars of the 1860s resulted in the British Crown confiscating more than 1,000 km² of Ngāti Awa land.

For more than a century afterwards, Ngāti Awa remained an aggrieved, struggling people. However, in 1999, the Waitangi Tribunal determined that the confiscation of Ngāti Awa land in the New Zealand Land Wars by the British Crown was illegal, and in 2003 a settlement was reached between Ngāti Awa and the New Zealand Government.

Government settlement[edit]

Carving representing Tihori, ancestor of the Māori tribe Ngāti Awa of Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

In 2003, following almost ten years of negotiations between the New Zealand Government and Ngāti Awa, a settlement was announced and reparations were made to the iwi. In summary:

  • The New Zealand Government ('the Crown') acknowledged and apologised for the illegal confiscation of Ngāti Awa land during the New Zealand Land Wars
  • The Crown paid NZ$42.39 million in reparations to Ngāti Awa
  • The Crown agreed to return control of seven sites of historical and cultural significance to the iwi
  • Three locations were renamed in accordance with original Ngāti Awa place names.

Ngāti Pūkeko[edit]

In the nineteenth century Ngāti Pūkeko were considered a separate iwi, but they are currently considered a hapū of Ngāti Awa.

Ngāti Awa today[edit]

From 2005, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa became the new governing body of the iwi. Representatives from the Rūnanga were responsible for negotiating the settlement with the government on behalf of Ngāti Awa. Based in Whakatane, the rūnanga manages the financial assets of the iwi, and promotes cultural, educational and economic development in the region.

Sun FM is the radio station for Ngāti Awa. It was first known as Te Reo Irirangi o Te Manuka Tutāhi during a three-week AM trial run in 1990. It went to air as Tumeke FM in 6 April 1991, became Sun FM in 1994 to increase its advertising appeal, and between 1996 and 1999 worked to increase its Māori language content.[2] The classic hits station broadcasts on 106.5 FM in Whakatane.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2006 Census – QuickStats About Māori (revised)". Statistics New Zealand. 2007-04-04. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  2. ^ "Sun FM - Te Reo Irirangi o te Mānuka Tūtahi". Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa. Ngāti Aaw. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Iwi Radio Coverage" (PDF). Māori Media Network. 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2015.