Te Whānau-ā-Apanui

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Te Whānau-ā-Apanui
Iwi of New Zealand
Rohe (region) Eastern North Island
Waka (canoe) Mataatua
Population 11,808 [1]

Te Whānau-ā-Apanui is a Māori iwi located in the eastern Bay of Plenty and East Coast regions of New Zealand's North Island. In 2006, the iwi registered 11,808 members,[1] representing 13 hapu.


Early history[edit]

Apanui Ringamutu is the founding ancestor of the iwi. He was descended from Tama-te-kapua of the Arawa canoe, and the Ngāriki people of the Tauira canoe.

During the 17th century, Apanui acquired vast amounts of land along the East Coast of the North Island. Through familial connection, he acquired land from Ngāti Porou and Ngāriki. He was given land extending from Pōtikirua to Puketapu, and from Taumata-ō-Apanui to the Mōtū River; the land in between was later won through conquest.

European contact[edit]

Relations with Europeans were not generally hostile. Early European settlers showed little interest in the isolated region, which lacked deep-water harbours for shipping. However, visiting Europeans taught Te Whānau-ā-Apanui the skills of whaling and commercial agriculture. Both areas become major economic industries for the iwi in the early 20th century, and profits were directed into community development projects.

Modern history[edit]

During the 1980s, the iwi experienced economic decline with the loss of major transport services, privatization of state assets and the eventual economic unfeasibility of its small-scale farming operations. This resulted in some emigration of iwi members from traditional tribal homelands.

Those belonging to Te Whānau-ā-Apanui include: educationalist Hoani Waititi, Pine Taiapa, one of the foremost practitioners of traditional Māori carving; acclaimed artist Cliff Whiting; and his son, artist and restoration expert Dean;[2] actor and director Taika Waititi; and educator and actor Wiremu Karuwha Tawhai.[3]

Te Whānau-ā-Apanui today[edit]

Presently, the iwi is represented by Te Rūnanga o te Whānau, which is involved in social services and local economic development. The Rūnanga successfully manages a fisheries operation and invests in the development of local forestry and other industries. In particular, the Cyberwaka rural community project provides information technology training.

Pan-tribal iwi station Sea 92FM broadcasts to members of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Whakatōhea and Ngāti Tai in the Opotiki area.[4] It is operated by pan-tribal service provider Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust, and is available on 92.0 FM. It operates the low-power Opotiki 88.1 FM, geared towards a young demographic.[5]

See also[edit]


  • Paora, Roka (2006-09-26). "Te Whanau-a-Apanui". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  1. ^ a b "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. ^ Helen Robinson (2005), 'Cliff and Dean Whiting: Reviving Restoration', Heritage New Zealand, Winter 2005, p.46
  3. ^ Death of Wiremu Karuwha Tawhai, Scoop Independent News, 10 December 2010, accessed 26 June 2011.
  4. ^ Carlsson, Sven. "Contractors install the Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust's far-reaching antenna last Friday". Opitiki News. Opitiki News. Retrieved 26 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Iwi Radio Coverage" (PDF). maorimedia.co.nz. Māori Media Network. 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2015.