There are eight iwi or tribes  in Te Tau Ihu/ Te Tauihu (Nelson/Tasman–Marlborough):

There is therefore no single account of the traditional history of the region:

Fragmented traditional narratives of the Kurahaupo iwi and their predecessors with whom they merged (Ngati Tumatakokiri, Ngati Wairangi, Ngai Tara), difficulties in ascribing tribal affiliations to individuals in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the dif­fering perspectives of the northern migrants on their settlement histories, and the competing interests of neighbouring iwi Ngai Tahu ; all preclude any single account of the traditional history of the region from gaining universal acceptance. (Waitangi Tribunal Report 2008: Te Tau Ihu o te Waka a Maui: Report on Northern South Island Claims, p.27)

This section attempts to tell some of the stories about the people and their land - ngā kōrero o Te Tau Ihu o te waka a Māui. For authoritative information about each iwi, see the linked website of each iwi. For more versions of the stories on the Prow, and many other stories, see the Te Tau Ihu Statutory Acknowledgements document and associated maps, which record many of the traditional stories which the different iwi associate with their regional sites of significance. Note - a statutory acknowledgment recognises the particular cultural, spiritual, historical and traditional association of an iwi with an identified site/area. For a more complete overview of the origins and rohe of the iwi of Te Tau Ihu, see the Prow story on The Tangata Whenua Tribes of Te Tau Ihu.

The iwi websites (linked below) have a growing collection of information, history and traditional stories about each iwi and their Rohe:

  • Ngāti Kuia - see history of the iwi (under About); and maps (under Resources) for information about Te Hoiere Region/Pelorus - occupations, historic, geographic, cultural redress and points of interest. Resources created to support the NZ Curriculum have been created: https://ngatikuia.iwi.nz/resources/education (videos, learning sheets etc).
  • Te Rūnanga a Rangitāne o Wairau - see history, rohe and whakapapa (under Rangitāne) and publications, about Wairau archaeology and more (under Resources)
  • Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō - see origins, rohe and more (under Ngā kōrero) and a wealth of information about places in the rohe (cultural mapping project), plus archival information (under Learn) 

  • Ngāti Koata - see Our History (under Tiaki Taonga) and a wealth of information about Lake Moawhitu on Rangitoto ki te Tonga/ D'Urville Island (under Tiaki Taiao)
  • Ngāti Rārua - see Our story (under Who We Are); see also NRAIT, the Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust - whose ancestors are the original landowners of their Motueka homelands. Read our history and oral histories (under Our Stories), map of holdings (under Our Trust), historic timeline (under Our Owners) and more.
  • Ngāti Toa Rangatira  - see our history (under Taonga), the rohe and Marae (under Rohe)

  • Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui  - see History (under Marae and Te Ātiawa Iwi), also see Our History (on the Te Atiawa Taranaki site).
  • Ngāti Tama ki Te Tau Ihu - see history (under Ngāti Tama ki Te Tau Ihu and also under Te reo me ōna tikanga) 

For background information see the Māori history section on Te Ara.

A note on spelling:
Many Māori names have been restored as a result of the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process, while the New Zealand Geographic Board Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa, the national authority on place names, has reinstated others in recognition of the significance of Māori place names to both the tangata whenua and New Zealand as a whole. Stories on the Prow reflect the name which was generally accepted at the time of publication. Names have been altered when possible to reflect subsequent changes, but it has not been possible to change all spellings and names as they occur. Contact us if you think a place name needs to be updated.
The Prow will retain the original names of institutions, as they were referred to at the time they existed, e.g. the Takaka Town Board will retain this name, whereas we will endeavour to amend other references to Tākaka.

See the Prow story on The Tangata Whenua Tribes of Te Tau Ihu and related stories on this site:

All stories in the Māori section are listed below.

Subscribe to RSS feedWhat is RSS?


  1. Kōkōwai
    The red ochre, Kokowai, was used for both personal adornment and decoration of artifacts, and Golden Bay provided rich resources of the material..... read more
  2. Vernon Lagoons
    Rangitane at the Wairau River completed one of the major engineering feats of southern Maoridom... read more
  3. Te Awatea Hou
    In 1990 a Top of the South Island Waka Taua was built by Te Runanganui o Te Tau Ihu a Maui for the Waitangi Day celebration of New Zealands 150 year... read more
  4. Wiremu Kīngi Te Koihua
    Te Koihua, chief of Pakawau, spanned the decades between authentic Maori lifestyle and the new colonised society read more
  5. Mōkai - Slavery in Colonial Times
    As in many other cultures, slavery was a key element of Maori society, in Te Tau Ihu and across New Zealand. read more
  6. Karaitianatanga - Māori and Christianity
    Christianity was brought to Marlborough as early as 1839 read more
  7. The Parihaka Prophets in Nelson
    Te Whiti and Tohu lived under house arrest in Nelson in 1882 read more
  8. Tāmati Pirimona Marino
    Tamati Pirimona Marino successfully combined his responsibilities as rangatira with the qualities necessary to succeed in the new society formed by co... read more
  9. Te Pūoho ki Te Rangi
    Te Puoho, of Ngati Tama, was part of the Tainui Taranaki alliance's conquest of Te Tau Ihu in the 1820's. He remained in the area, continuing to exerc... read more
  10. Mātauranga - Māori and education
    Maori were keen to learn, but not at the expense of their language and culture read more