Waikato Tainui

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Waikato Tainui
Maori tribal government
Tribe established ~1350
Maori King proclaimed 1858
Exiled to King Country 1863
Te Kauhanganui founded 1889/1890
Capital Ngaruawahia
Marae 65 marae
 • Body Te Kauhanganui
 • Maori King Tuheitia
 • Executive Chair Tom Roa
 • Total 8,046 km2 (5,000 sq mi)
Population (2011)**
 • Total 52,000
 • Density 6.5/km2 (10/sq mi)
Time zone NZST
Website http://waikatotainui.com/?id=1
  • area of jurisdiction
    **Enrolled tribal members only

The Waikato Tainui are a group of Māori from the Tainui waka (tribal confederation) who live in the Waikato Region, in the western central region of New Zealand's North Island.


Waikato is a Māori iwi (tribe) from the Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand. Actually a confederation of smaller tribes,[1] it is also part of the larger confederation of Tainui, consisting of tribes descended from Polynesian migrants who arrived in New Zealand on the Tainui canoe. Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, the first Māori king, was a member of the Waikato sub-tribe of Ngāti Mahuta, and his descendants have succeeded him. The iwi is named after the Waikato River, which plays a large part in its history and culture.

Hamilton City is now the largest population center for the iwi. The township Ngaruawahia is important historically, and is the location of Turangawaewae marae, the centre of the Kīngitanga Movement (Māori King Movement). In the 2006 census, 33,429 people in New Zealand indicated they were affiliated with Waikato (including those affiliated with more than one tribe).[2]


The Waikato iwi has been using the name "Tainui" to describe itself for some time, through the establishment of the Tainui Māori Trust Board by the Waikato-Maniapoto Maori Claims Settlement Act 1946, with many people now referring to the Waikato iwi as "Tainui" or "Waikato-Tainui".


The Waikato-Tainui iwi comprises 33 hapu (sub-tribes) and 65 marae (family groupings). There are over 52,000 tribal members who affiliate to Waikato-Tainui.

Waikato-Tainui's governing parliamentary body is Waikato-Tainui Te Kauhanganui Incorporated, comprising 204 tribal members – 3 members from each of the 68 marae. The marae are spread over a large area from Te Kuiti and Cambridge in the south to Auckland City in the north. The executive board is Te Arataura, which has 10 representatives elected from Te Kauhanganui and an 11th member appointed by the Māori king. The Waikato-Tainui tribal administration (or iwi authority) is the Waikato Raupatu Trustee Company Ltd, which replaced the Tainui Māori Trust Board, and is situated at Hopuhopu, Ngaruawahia.


There have traditionally been strong links between Tainui and the University of Waikato, which has strengths in Māori language and modern local history. The university also holds documents and objects related to the tribe.


In 1999 the tribe invested in the Auckland Warriors along with a consortium that included Graham Lowe and Malcolm Boyle. The club performed poorly both on the field and financially. Half way through the 2000 season the tribe bought out the consortium in a bid to turn the fortunes of the club around. By the end of the season the club was near bankruptcy and most of the assets were sold to Eric Watson who formed the New Zealand Warriors.[3]


  1. ^ Royal, Te Ahukaramū Charles (3 May 2010). "Waikato tribes – The Waikato confederation". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Royal, Te Ahukaramū Charles (3 May 2010). "Waikato tribes – Facts and figures". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Vodafone Warriors Club History

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