The Waikato Region is occupied by the tribes of Tainui and Te Arawa waka*. In the north are the Hauraki, Waikato, Ngati Maniapoto and Ngati Raukawa tribes of Tainui waka. To the south are Ngati Tuwharetoa and the confederation of Te Arawa tribes of Te Arawa waka. The tribal histories and traditions of Tainui waka and Te Arawa waka are intertwined as both departed from their ancestral homeland, Hawaiki, around the same time and landed at Whangaparaoa and Ahauhu. The journeys of Rakataura of Tainui, and Tia and Ngatoroirangi of Te Arawa are embedded in the tribal histories and natural features of the Region.
The traditional boundaries of Tainui and Te Awara waka are expressed in the following terms:
|Mokau ki runga||From Mokau in the south|
|Tamaki ki raro||to Tamaki in the north|
|Mangatoatoa ki waenganui||Mangatoatoa in the centre|
|Pare Hauraki||East Coast|
|Pare Waikato||West Coast|
|Ko te Kaokaoroa o te Paatetere||the extended arm of the Kaimai Ranges|
Te Arawa waka:
|Mai Maketu ki Tongariro||Maketu is the prow and Tongariro is the stern of the canoe Te Arawa|
The tribes of Tainui waka and Te Arawa waka are recognised as the tangata whenua of the Waikato Region. They have ancestral obligation as Kaitiaki to ensure the resources of the Region are protected and managed for future generations.