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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 2.2 Iwi in the Waikato Region » 2.2.1 The Iwi of Hauraki

2.2.1 The Iwi of Hauraki

The iwi of Hauraki’s tribal estate is a holistic concept encompassing the sky above and the earth below. It covers a land area of 680,000 to 810,000 hectares, in addition to the offshore islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

The twelve iwi of Hauraki are Ngati Maru, Ngati Paoa, Ngati Tamatera, Ngati Whanaunga, Ngati Hako, Ngati Hei, Patukirikiri, Ngai Tai, Ngati Tara Tokanui, Ngati Rahiri Tumutumu, Ngati Porou ki Harataunga ki Mataora and Ngati Pukenga ki Waiau. Each have their own respective traditions which collectively embrace the waka* traditions of Tainui, Te Arawa, Mataatua and Matawhaorua, Tohora traditions and taku whenua.

Iwi of Hauraki descended from the Tainui waka are collectively known as the Marutuahu Confederation and comprise Ngati Maru, Ngati Whanaunga, Ngati Tamatera and Ngati Poao. The rohe of Marutuahu stretches from Matakana, near Tauranga in the South to Matakana, near Leigh in the North.

Known by the iwi of Hauraki as ‘Te Tara o te Whai’ or ‘the barb of the stingray’, the Coromandel Pensinsula extends northwards supported by the calm waters of Tikapa Moana on the west and the tumultuous seascape of Te Tai Tamawahine on the east. It is also referred to as a waka, which extends from Moehau in the north to Te Aroha in the south, whose ribs are the rivers that flow from the mountains and empty into the estuaries and harbours below. The ancient traditions serve to illustrate the importance of the coast to Hauraki and the manner in which its features took on personifications of great reverence.

The late Hauraki kaumatua, Taimoana Turoa (1997) describes the geography and landscape of Hauraki thus:

“Much of the terrain of Hauraki is rugged and mountainous rising high above the deep valley floor of virgin bush and forest streams. The major waterways have their source in the hinterland catchment and spill over the flat swamplands before emptying into the inland sea of Taikapa, the Hauraki Gulf. Sculpted inlets and bays gnaw at the shoreline with precipitous headlands keeping a vigilant watch on the offshore islands and seas.”


The life of the iwi of Hauraki was shaped by this environment. Their location demanded that the people become fishers and mariners, with the fertile forest proving a supplementary food basket and the wetlands providing tuna, inanga and other freshwater fish. The temperate climate assured an abundant food resource and the most ideal locations for human settlement were selected and developed. Turoa (1997) provides a succinct description of the cultural landscape of Hauraki:

“There was no natural feature which defied description and therefore appropriate naming. Ranges, ridges, promontories and streams identified tribal and personal boundaries. Prominent peaks, rivers and seas assumed a personification of great reverence. Every topographical feature, however insignificant, promoted a commemoration to ancestors, deeds, events, phenomena and an acknowledgement to atua, the gods of creation.” Matters of Concern to the Iwi of Hauraki

The following is a summary of some matters that are of concern to the iwi of Hauraki. All have been expressed by the iwi of Hauraki as taonga*. This summary is not comprehensive and does not attempt to do more than note the issues. Reference to iwi of Hauraki representatives or authorised documentation is recommended in order to fully appreciate the iwi of Hauraki’s perspective and its context.

  1. Tino Rangatirantanga*
    Recognition of tino rangatiratanga, including resource ownership, bears on such matters as the decision-making role in the management of its resources, its ability to exercise kaitiakitanga* and care for the natural environment and future generations.
  2. Kaitiakitanga
    Issues of concern include recognition and understanding of the meaning and obligations of kaitiakitanga, decision-making roles in the management of resources, mainstream misuse of traditional Kaitiaki* concepts, protection of customary uses and values, and the relationship with the environment.
  3. Water and Water Bodies
    Issues include the effects of taking water and discharging contaminants (particularly humanbased sewage) on waterways and cultural resources associated with water. Also of concern are effects on ground water arising from contaminant discharge and the cumulative effect of all of these activities on water quality and waahi tapu* associated with water.
  4. Land
    Land is conceptualised as the spiritual and physical embodiment of Papatuanuku, the Earth Mother. There is concern about the cumulative adverse effects of poor land management practices on land, waters, fisheries and other resources. Protection of waahi tapu and heritage sites, features and landscapes is also specifically of concern.
  5. Air 
    Air falls within the domain of Ranginui, the Sky Father, and is essential to life itself. Matters of concern include greenhouse gas discharges, depletion of the ozone layer and adverse effects of pollutants on air, land, water and ecosystem quality and cultural and physical resources.
  6. The Coast
    A key issue is the protection of customary rights, interests and values in the coastal area. This and related issues are described in more detail in the Regional Coastal Plan for the Waikato Region.
  7. Stone, Mineral and Geothermal Resources
    Issues include third party access to and the exacerbation of Treaty claims in respect of stone, mineral and geothermal resources.
  8. Waahi Tapu
    Waahi tapu have a specific tapu nature and include places (e.g. burial sites, springs, mountains), artefacts and religious or ceremonial instructions. They are sacred to the iwi of Hauraki. A key issue is that local authorities are managing the use and development of resources without good information about the nature and extent of waahi tapu in the Hauraki region. There is concern about the lack of mainstream protection of waahi tapu from resource use and development.


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