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Ngāti Kahungunu

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Title: Ngāti Kahungunu  
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Ngāti Kahungunu

Ngāti Kahungunu
Iwi of New Zealand

Rohe (location) Hawke’s Bay, Tararua and Wairārapa regions
Waka (canoe) Tākitimu
Population 61,626 (c. 2013)

Ngāti Kahungunu is a Māori iwi located along the eastern coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The iwi is traditionally centred in the Hawke’s Bay and Tararua and Wairārapa regions.

Ngāti Kahungunu is often considered in terms of six geographical subdivisions: Wairoa, Te Whanganui-ā-Orotū, Heretaunga, Tamatea, Tāmaki-nui-a Rua and Wairarapa. Ngāti Kahungunu is the third largest iwi in New Zealand by population, with 61,626 people (9.2% of the Māori population) identifying as Ngāti Kahungunu in the 2013 census.[1]


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • 19th century history 1.2
    • 20th century history 1.3
  • Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated 2
    • Organisational structure 2.1
    • Leadership 2.2
  • Notable people 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The ancestor Kahungunu depicted with the canoe paddle of a navigator

Early history

Ngāti Kahungunu trace their origins to the Tākitimu canoe. According to Ngāti Kahungunu traditions, Tākitimu arrived in Aotearoa from Rarotonga around 1100-1200 AD as one of the waka in the great migration. Other waka included Tainui, Te Arawa, Tokomaru, Ārai Te Uru, Mataatua, Kurahaupo, Aotea, Ngātokimatawhaorua, and Horouta.[2] According to local legend, Tākitimu and its crew were completely tapu. Its crew comprised men only: high chiefs, chiefs, tohunga and elite warriors. No cooked food was eaten before or during the voyage. The captain of Tākitimu was Tamatea Arikinui, also known as Tamatea Pokai-Whenua. He left the waka at Turanga, travelling overland until he arrived at Ahuriri in the Hawke's Bay Region. The waka Tākitimu itself continued its voyage to the South Island under a new captain, Tahu Pōtiki. It is from Tahu Pōtiki that the South Island iwi of Ngāi Tahu takes its name.

According to one account, Kahungunu was the great-grandson of Tamatea and was born in present-day Kaitaia. Other accounts indicate a more direct link, including that Kahungunu was the son of Tamatea. In either case, it has been widely recounted that Kahungunu traveled extensively through the North Island during his early adulthood, eventually settling on the East Coast of the North Island. He married several times during the period of his travels, and as a result there are many North Island hapū that trace their lineage directly back to Kahungunu. Many of his marriages were arranged for diplomatic purposes, uniting various iwi against their enemies, forming bonds and securing peace. At some point, Kahungunu arrived at Māhia Peninsula, where he pursued and married a woman of very high rank, named Rongomaiwahine. She was famously beautiful, and according to legend had issued a challenge to Kahungunu, insulting his charismatic reputation and inviting him to prove himself worthy of her partnership in marriage. Kahungunu accepted the challenge, and after numerous trials he succeeded in obtaining Rongomaiwahine's consent to marry. The iwi Ngāti Kahungunu descends from this marriage.

19th century history

Since their inception, hapū of Ngāti Kahungunu have participated in numerous armed conflicts with other North Island iwi, including the Musket Wars of the early 19th century. Internal fighting has also taken place, particularly between December 1865 and January 1866, although historians have usually considered that conflict as part of the East Cape War that was taking place at the time. In 1840, several Ngāti Kahungunu chiefs were signatories of the Treaty of Waitangi. European settlement and trade spread rapidly in the following decade, as local hapū established a thriving regional economy.

The spread of European settlement eventually led to the rapid acquisition of Māori land by The Crown during the 1850s and 60s. For example chiefs from the Heretaunga area, such as Te Hapuku and Henare Tomoana lost significant areas of land in sales that have since been labelled "extortionate," and which later became matters of dispute and protest. The loss of land during this period led to the emergence of the Hawke's Bay Repudiation Movement, which was a coalition of Ngāti Kahungunu leaders who sought to halt the rapidity of land loss in the region, and to dispute past sales.[3]

In 1868 the Eastern Māori electorate was established in the New Zealand Parliament to provide parliamentary representation for Māori in the east of the North Island, an area encompassing Ngāti Kahungunu. The earliest elected representatives for the Eastern Māori electorate were Ngāti Kahungunu chiefs Tareha Te Moananui (1868-1871), Karaitiana Takamoana (1871-1879), and Henare Tomoana (1879-1881).[4] The effectiveness of Māori parliamentary representation during this period was hampered by a lack of fluent English on the part of the elected Māori representatives, and by a lack of confidence in the European parliamentary system itself, which was seen as incapable of protecting Māori interests. As a result, the Kotahitanga movement emerged in the 1890s, which was led by Ngāti Kahungunu leaders and advocated for the establishment of an independent Māori parliament. It convened parliamentary style meetings at Pāpāwai Marae in Wairārapa and at Waipatu in Heretaunga, where key issues of importance for Māori were debated.

20th century history

At the outset of the 20th century, a new generation of Māori leaders were beginning to participate in the social and political landscape of Ngāti Kahungunu and New Zealand. Te Aute College had opened in 1854 near Hastings, and in the 1880s and 90s it was attended by such figures as Sir Apirana Ngata of Ngāti Porou, Sir Maui Pomare and Te Rangi Hīroa (Sir Peter Buck) of Ngāti Mutunga, and Paraire Tomoana of Ngāti Kahungunu. In 1897 they formed the Te Aute College Students' Association, and became active participants in public life, mediating between the Crown and hapū in matters of local land management. In 1909 the group was joined by Sir James Carroll and became known as the Young Māori Party.[5]

When the New Zealand (Māori) Pioneer Battalion. The battalion participated in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, and the Western Front between 1916-1918.[6]

The recruitment song Te Ope Tuatahi was composed in 1916 by Apirana Ngata to encourage Maori enlistment. It became famous during the First World War, and was again popularised during the Second World War. In 1917 Tomoana added an additional verse to specifically target recruitment in Ngāti Kahungunu and other eastern regions of the North Island. No distinction is made in the performance of the song; Tomoana's addendum is sung as the third verse.[7]

Students at Te Aute College in 1880.
St Luke's Anglican Church in the Māori village of Pakipaki, near Hastings, a First World War Memorial opened in 1923.
Te Ope Tuatahi
Ngata's 1916 verses (Māori) Ngata's 1916 verses (English) Tomoana's 1917 verse (Māori) Tomoana's 1917 verse (English)

Te ope tuatahi
No Aotearoa
No Te Waipounamu
No nga tai e wha

Ko koutou ena
E nga rau e rima
Te Hokowhitu toa
A Tumatauenga

I hinga ka Ihipa
Ki Karipori ra ia
E ngau nei te aroha
Me te mamae

Te ope tuarua
No Mahaki rawa
Na Hauiti koe
Na Porourangi

I haere ai Henare
Me to wiwi
I patu ki te pakanga
Ki Paranihi ra ia

Ko wai he morehu
Hei kawe korero
Ki te iwi nui e
E taukuri nei?

The first contingent was
from throughout New Zealand,
including the South Island;
they were from the four tides.

You there
the five hundred
the brave Battalion
of angry-eyed Tu.

Some of you have fallen in Egypt,
some in Gallipoli.
Love gnaws within us
and pain also.

The second echelon was
from around Gisborne,
from Tolaga Bay,
from the East Coast.

Farewell, O Henare,
and your 'clump of rushes'
who fell while fighting
in France.

Who will survive there
to bring the story back
to all the people
in sorrow bowed?

Te ope tuaiwa
No Te Arawa
No Te Tairawhiti
No Kahungunu

E haere ana au
Ki runga o Wiwi
Ki reira au nei
E tangi ai

Me mihi kau atu
I te nuku o te whenua
He konei ra e
E te tau pumau

The ninth contingent
is from near Rotorua,
from near Gisborne,
and from Hawke's Bay.

And now I am going
to the conflict of the Frenchmen
and there will I weep.

I salute you as I disappear
out of sight of the land.
my own true love.

In January 1918 Tomoana published the words of E Pari Ra, a piece written for soldiers lost in battle. Later this tune was adopted by the Royal New Zealand Navy as their official slow march. Other songs composed by Paraire were Tahi nei taru kino, I runga o nga puke, Hoki hoki tonu mai, Hoea ra te waka nei, Pokarekare Ana, and the haka Tika tonu. The songs have since become treasured anthems of Ngāti Kahungunu, and in some cases were adopted by other iwi due to their wartime popularity.[7]

After the outbreak of the Waikato, Maniapoto, Wellington and the South Island. Additionally, 'D' Company also consisted of some soldiers from the Pacific Islands, and from the Chatham and Stewart Islands. The battalion fought in the Greek, North African and Italian campaigns, during which it earned a formidable reputation as an extremely effective fighting force. It was also the most decorated New Zealand battalion of the war. Following the end of hostilities, the battalion contributed a contingent of personnel to serve in Japan as part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, before it was disbanded in January 1946.[8] Wiremu Te Tau Huata was a well known officer from Ngāti Kahungunu, having served as the Māori Battalion's military chaplain.[9]

By 1946 only a small percentage of land in the Ngāti Kahungunu region had been retained by Māori, and the traditional agrarian communities at the core of Māori society were beginning to break down as returned servicemen found employment and settled in urban areas, such as Wairoa, Napier, Hastings, and Masterton. By the year 1966, 70% of Māori men (throughout New Zealand in general) were now working in urban employment centres, particularly freezing works, sawmills, the transport industry (including road maintenance), the construction industry, and various types of factory work.[10] In Hawke's Bay, thousands of Māori worked at the Whakatu and Tomoana freezing works sites, near Hastings. However the regional economy and well-being of the Māori community was profoundly impacted when both plants closed; Whakatu in 1986 and Tomoana in 1994.[11]

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated

Organisational structure

In 1988, Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Kahungunu Incorporated was established as a centralised organisation responsible for iwi development, but it went into receivership in 1994. The organisation re-emerged with a new constitution in 1996 under the name Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated (NKII). An election was held in 1997, resulting in the establishment of an elected board of trustees and a new mandate to govern iwi development.[12] Elections are held every three years, and all adults with a whakapapa link to a hapū of Ngāti Kahungunu are eligible to vote. The chairperson of the board of trustees usually represents the iwi in political affairs.

In accordance with the constitution of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc, the board of trustees consists of ten tangata whenua representatives:[13]

  • One representative is elected within each of the six geographical subdivisions of the Ngāti Kahungunu area: Wairoa, Te Whanganui-ā-Orotū, Heretaunga, Tamatea, Tāmaki-nui-a Rua and Wairarapa. The constitution requires that a candidate for election to any of these positions must already be an elected board member of the Taiwhenua (local governing body) of the respective geographical subdivision.
  • Two representatives are elected at large by registered members of Ngāti Kahungunu who reside outside of the Ngāti Kahungunu region. This electorate is referred to in the constitution as the Taurahere Runanga. Candidates for election to these positions must have a whakapapa link to a hapū of Ngāti Kahungunu.
  • One representative is elected as a kaumātua; a respected elder of the iwi who is proficient in Ngāti Kahungunu tikanga, kawa (traditional legal protocols), and reo. This representative is elected directly to the board by other kaumātua of Ngāti Kahungunu.
  • One representative is elected at large by the iwi membership to the chair of the board of trustees. To be eligible for this position, the candidate must already be an elected board member of a Taiwhenua of one the geographical subdivisions of the iwi. In addition, the candidate must be proficient in Ngāti Kahungunu tikanga, kawa, and reo. As a special provision, if the incumbent chairperson's term as a board member of a Taiwhenua expires during their tenure as chair of the iwi board, it does not disqualify them from seeking re-election.


When Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Kahungunu Incorporated was established in 1988, its first chairperson was

  • Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated website: Contains information on registering for the Iwi and words to some of their waiata (songs), including Pōkarekare Ana.

External links

  • Whaanga, Mere (2006-12-21). "Ngati Kahungunu". Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  1. ^ "2013 Census – QuickStats About Māori". Statistics New Zealand. 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2014-09-17. 
  2. ^ Mitira (Mitchell), Tiaki Hikawera (John Hikawera) (1972) [1944]. Takitimu (2 ed.). Wellington: Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd. p. 24. Retrieved 2013-07-24. Some people claim that Horouta came with the Main Migration and was the eighth canoe of the fleet. This claim is strongly denied by the people of this island, who only recognise the seven canoes, viz., Takitimu, Tainui, Te Arawa, Mata-tua, Toko-maru, Aotea and Kurahaupo. 
  3. ^ Ballara, Angela. "Tomoana, Henare - Biography".  
  4. ^  
  5. ^ "Tōrangapū – Māori and political parties - Creating a Māori electoral system', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Ann Sullivan. Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Maori units of the NZEF". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. updated 1-Sept-14. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Ballara, Angela. "Tomoana, Paraire Henare - Biography".  
  8. ^ Cody, J.F (1956). 28 (Maori) Battalion. The Official History Of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–45. Wellington: Historical Publications Branch. 
  9. ^ Ballara, Angela. "Huata, Wi Te Tau - Biography".  
  10. ^ "Māori and the union movement: Joining the workforce". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. updated 13-Jul-12. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "The day grown men cried". Hawke's Bay Today. 2006. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "About: Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated". Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated. 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Constitution of Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated" (PDF). Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated. 1996. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "About: Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated". Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated. 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  15. ^ Te Runanganui o Ngati Kahungunu Inc v Gemmell (High Court of New Zealand 1994).
  16. ^ Te Runanganui o Ngati Kahungunu Inc v Scott (High Court of New Zealand 1995).
  17. ^ "Kahungunu Asset Holding Company Ltd Director Appointments". Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated. 2011. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  18. ^ Houlahan, Mike (10 February 2007). "One more giant step". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 February 2015. 


Notable people

The board employs a General Manager and staff, which oversees the operational affairs of the iwi organisation. General Managers have included Labour member of parliament Meka Whaitiri. An asset holding company was also established in 2005 to manage the iwi's investment portfolio.[17] The company's directors include former rugby player Taine Randell.

After the creation of a new constitution, the period of receivership ended and in 1996 the organisation was renamed Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated. Ngahiwi Tomoana of Heretaunga defeated Tom Gemmell of Ngāti Pahauwera by one vote, to become the elected chairperson of the new board. He remains the current chairperson.

[16][15].Māori Land Court, where the dysfunctionality of the board was given as evidence of the need for the court to intervene. The court placed Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Kahungunu Incorporated into receivership, and placed it under the jurisdiction of the High Court of New Zealand As a result, a case was brought to the [14]

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