Ko wai te mana whenua o Te Tau Ihu o te waka a Māui?

Te Ao Tangata Social Sciences/ Aotearoa NZ Histories Curriculum (2022) Links

This guide was produced by Rebecca Baird, HOLA Social Science/ HOD History at Nelson College for Girls as a sabbatical project, funded by The Ministry of Education/ Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga.

The guide is geared towards a secondary context and the implementation of the Aotearoa NZ Histories curriculum in schools in Te Tau Ihu. It has been developed for years 9 and 10, to assist students who may not have had much exposure to the new curriculum to gain the foundational learning they will need to successfully engage with the curriculum through their remaining secondary years. While the focus is on years 9 and 10, ideas from the document will be found useful at other levels and potentially by teachers seeking to upskill themselves.

The document below can also be downloaded as a PDF.

Ko wai te mana whenua o Te Tau Ihu o te waka a Māui? Me tiro whakamuri, kia anga whakamua.

If we want to shape the future, start with the past. (ANZHC whakataukī)

Te Ao Tangata Social Sciences/ Aotearoa NZ Histories Curriculum (2022) Links

Big ideas (Understand):

  1. Māori history is the foundational and continuous history of Aotearoa New Zealand.
  2. Colonisation and settlement have been central to Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories for the past 200 years.
  3. People’s lived experiences have been shaped by the use and misuse of power.
  4. People hold different perspectives on the world depending on their values, traditions, and experiences.
  5. People participate in communities by acting on their beliefs and through the roles they hold.
  6. Interactions change societies and environments.

Contexts (Know):

Please note, as this curriculum is new and this teaching and learning is considered foundational, contexts are drawn from all levels of learning (not just limited to a secondary end of Year 10 level).

  • Māori are tangata whenua. They were the first people of this land and have stories about their origins and arrival.
  • Tangata whenua are deeply connected to the local area. Naming places was key to establishing and maintaining mana and tūrangawaewae.
  • People in our area have come from a variety of places and some retain connections to those places.
  • People express their connection to places in different ways.
  • Places and environments are often significant for individuals and groups.
  • Many of the names of geographical features, towns, building, streets and places tell stories. Sometimes there is more than one story.
  • The ways different groups of people have lived and worked in this rohe have changed over time.
  • Culture shapes individual and collective identities and create diversity within societies.
  • People interact with places, resources, and environments for personal, social, economic, and spiritual reasons.
  • People’s cultural practices and relationships can vary but reflect similar purposes.
  • The stories of groups of people from different periods in our history convey their reasons for and experiences of migration. These stories have shaped their culture and identity in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Māori cared for and transformed te taiao, and expressed their connection to place by naming the land and its features.
  • People make decisions based on what they have and their needs and wants, and to provide for themselves and others.
  • Mana was central to all political and economic relationships in traditional Māori society and has continued to shape internal and external interactions.
  • People’s connections to places, resources and environments can generate cooperation or lead to disputes over rights and responsibilities, with differing consequences. 
  • The suitability of places for living is influenced by natural and cultural factors. The ways in which people and communities enhance or damage suitability is influenced by the resources they have available to them and by their values and perspectives.
  • Movement within and across borders impacts on people and places. Interactions change people’s culture and identity, communities, and countries.

References/ links

Note all the references that follow are English language references. I did not have the Te Reo Māori language skills to use or critique Māori medium resources, although I would like to be able to compile these in the future, with appropriate support, to enable my students with reo backgrounds to be able to engage with their histories in their language.

Teacher References:

Teacher/ Student References:


There is so much potential for local history in our rohe. We have the site of earliest arrival of people – the Polynesians who became known as Māori and then later European explorers. Colonisation and conflict happened here and continues through to today. But this teaching and learning plan focuses on what would be fundamental learning for anyone living in Te Tau Ihu – who are the tangata whenua of Te Tauihu? It is a rich, complex question that makes our region unique. Eight iwi have mana whenua status across our region. For the same reasons it is a great place to live today, it held attraction throughout our past. Furthermore, trends of contact and conflict in Aotearoa impacted on Te Tauihu as it did the rest of the country. In terms of Social Studies learning, there is potential to develop learning about many big ideas when focusing on the ‘Musket Wars’, hekenga and arrival of those that are now our tangata whenua. This could involve looking at the impact of Pakeha contact and colonisation, or the push and pull factors and consequences of massive internal migration, or how relationships between different groups can lead to both conflict and cooperation. It is hoped that with the introduction of compulsory Aotearoa NZ Histories, a unit like this would not be needed in the future, but for now, this could be used, adapted, and grown to fit any teaching and learning programme within any of the kura in Te Tauihu. Alternatively, this could also be used and adapted to many other local rohe in Aotearoa that were also affected by these trends and events.

Ākonga can explore all of the Aotearoa NZ Histories Big ideas through this sequence of learning. They will develop understanding of the foundational and continuous history of our rohe, including of those who have mana whenua status today. They will explore colonisation and settlement - of Māori in our rohe, and of Pākehā to Aotearoa that influenced the change of warfare and movement of Māori throughout the Musket Wars and after. They will learn about mana and power and how it influenced these events shaping our history. And they will consider how relationships and connections between people were and are fundamental to the history of our rohe and more broadly Aotearoa as a whole, and how those relationships have changed over time. Ākonga can also practice all of the skills/practices or ‘Dos’ from the Aotearoa NZ Histories Curriculum in this sequence of learning, through many inquiry learning opportunities. 

Big Question

Who are the Tangata Whenua of Te Tau Ihu?

Key concepts

cause and effect      change      conflict      culture      diversity   
identity      interaction     mana whenua       migration       perspectives     
resources       rohe       Tangata Whenua   tūrangawaewae   whakapapa

Social inquiry questions 

  • What is the whakapapa of this place?
  • How did the eight tangata whenua iwi of Te Tauihu come to have mana whenua status in this rohe?
  • How does the settlement of Te Tauihu link to the broader stories of the making of Aotearoa

Outline of possible sequence for teaching and learning

1. Te Tau Ihu o te waka a Māui

2. Māori in Te Tauihu

  • Where did Māori live in our region before Europeans, and why there?
  • Kurahaupō tribes into Te Tauihu – Who were the first of the 1840-era tribes to arrive in Te Tauihu?
    • Ngāti Kuia tūpuna and Kurahaupō waka in Te Tau Ihu
    • Ngāi Tara, Ngāti Apa and Rangitāne migrations south
    • Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri
      • To know more about Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri you could use The Prow (article written by John and Hilary Mitchell) Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri (theprow.org.nz) 
      • Making annotated maps could be a good activity for ākonga considering the sequence of these southern movements. They could then add to these with later series of migrations/heke.
      • There are different resources you could use depending on the level of depth you would like or the literacy levels of your learners.
      • For a brief overview the Mitchells have written a short article on The Prow, The Tangata Whenua Tribes of Te Tau Ihu (theprow.org.nz) or for a more detailed narrative refer to their books, Vol. I, chapter 2.
      • Note Ngāti Kuia tell different versions of their arrival into Te Tau Ihu so it could be a good opportunity to arrange a guest speaker.
      • You could also as part of this learning, revisit or consider the first arrivals of Europeans and European explorers into Te Tau Ihu and their impact on iwi, eg. Rangitāne and Ngāti Tūmatakōkiri.

3. Context for change – ‘Musket Wars’

  • What was the nature of and function of pre-European Māori warfare? The pursuit of mana and cycles of conflict
    • There is a lot of material online to support student learning in this area, and a number of junior level Social Studies texts.
    • This Digital NZ Story has a range of articles and items that could be used for inquiry learning: Pre-European New Zealand | Story | DigitalNZ
  • What were the impacts of early contact with Europeans on Māori society? The trade economy that resulted from European contact and in particular the far North/ Te Tai Tokerau
  • Ngā Puhi and the beginning of the ‘Musket Wars’ – How did European goods fuel a new wave of warfare to settle old grievances?
    • This is a good context to explore the key ideas of change and continuity.
    • You could ‘zoom-in’ on Hōngi Hika and his trip to England as a catalyst for musket warfare, and/or use his trip to imagine different perspectives of new worlds, new goods and new people. There are many biographies and accounts of Hōngi Hika. To view you could use this 30 min overview (in Te Reo with English subtitles) WAKA HUIA - HŌNGI HIKA FULL EPISODE - YouTube
    • There are a number of resources around the fluctuation and price of muskets that can be used with ākonga to consider supply and demand, and the labour force required by Māori to trade materials for muskets.
    • NZ History is good for overviews of the Musket Wars Beginnings - Musket Wars | NZHistory, New Zealand history online and the Aotearoa NZ History Show has an episode on the Musket Wars The Aotearoa History Show S2 | Episode 8: The Musket Wars | RNZ - YouTube
  • Conflict between Waikato and the Kāwhia tribes – What were the pressures on some Tainui tribes that would result in their leaving their tūrangawaewae behind, moving so far south, ultimately to Te Tau Ihu?
    • In terms of Social Studies learning, this can draw many comparisons to the ultimate decision many people face in dangerous situations – to stay and face the risks or be proactive and leave at great cost. This allows for values exploration/ analysis of different perspectives and developing empathy. This context could also be used to consider the plight of refugees, or those facing conflict today.
    • Annotated maps could again prove useful to visualise the flow-on effect of the growing musket conflicts.
    • Students could analyse Te Rauparaha’s lament for Kāwhia https://teara.govt.nz/en/zoomify/34841/lament-for-kawhia and consider how they would feel having to leave their home behind.
    • For a narrative of events, you could use Crosby, chapter 5, or Wright, chapter 4 (Crosby, p.84 has a good map showing the Kāwhia tribes and Waikato attack).
    • If you wanted to work with an older source and have your students analyse different types of sources of information, and evaluate their reliability, you could use this article by W. Carkeek from Te Ao Hou (1960) Papers Past | Magazines and Journals | Te Ao Hou | March 1960 | TE RAUPARAHA Part 1: Kawhia and the Journey South (natlib.govt.nz) that covers Te Rauparaha from a boy to the defence of Kāpiti Island.

4. Hekenga and southern migrations (Te Heke Mai-i-raro) – How did North Island tribes come to settle in Te Tau Ihu before 1840?

  • Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Rārua and Ngāti Koata into Taranaki
    • Te Heke Tahutahuahi (the fire-lighting migration)
    • Pursuit by Ngāti Maniapoto
    • Losses along the way, hospitality of Taranaki
  • Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Mutunga and Te Ātiawa join the Kāwhia tribes as they head south
    • Te Heke Tātaramoa (the bramble bush migration)
    • Campaigns through Manawatū, Horowhenua, Kāpiti and Te Whanganui a Tara
    • Changing mana whenua in the lower North Island, and the flow-on effect of flight to the south across Moana Raukawa
    • Te Rauparaha and Ngāti Toa dominance in the Cook Strait trade with Europeans
  • Tainui and Taranaki iwi into Te Waipounamu

5. Ngā iwi o Te Tauihu - The eight tangata whenua iwi of Te Tauihu

  • Ngāti Kōata
  • Ngāti Kuia
  • Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō
  • Ngāti Tama
  • Ngāti Toa Rangatira
  • Ngāti Rārua
  • Rangitāne
  • Te Ātiawa o Te Waka-a-Māui
    • There are many ways students could learn about the eight mana whenua iwi of Te Tau Ihu. I have my students use jigsaw learning to investigate different iwi in pairs or groups, then share back to the class.
    • We then used this to complete a map of Te Tau Ihu and its significant places; as well as to review our understanding of some key concepts in context, such as tūpuna, tūrangawaewae, wahi tapu, waka, etc.
    • The iwi websites, plus Te Ara, Iwi – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand are useful for this learning.
    • You could also focus in on the iwi with specific relevance to, or ownership of the land for your kura.
    • Some of your ākonga may be mana whenua, and they or their whānau may be willing to share their knowledge of their iwi and history. 

Next steps

You could go further with this sequence by going into greater depth in any number of areas covered (especially within the context of the Musket Wars), or by extending into, eg.

  • Pakeha settlement and Māori land loss
  • The ‘sale and purchase’ of land
  • Nelson Tenths
  • Landlessness and impacts to today
  • Te Tauihu Waitangi claims process and treaty settlements
  • What it means to be mana whenua today
  • Cross-cultural learning that compares and contrasts the experiences of Māori with other indigenous or First Nations peoples facing colonisation, eg. Native Americans, Australian aboriginals, etc.
  • Cross-cultural learning that compares and contrasts the experiences of iwi in Te Tauihu with other iwi in Aotearoa
  • Inquiry learning around issues of recognition of mana whenua in our rohe – to what extent is Māori culture or are Māori histories visible in Te Tauihu? This could look at names of places, language, kapa haka, Māori medium education, art, etc. (and the incorrect naming too, eg. Street names). This could then also be compared and contrasted with the representation of other cultures or tauiwi.

You could also incorporate local trips, eg. Whakatū marae (representing six of the eight iwi), other marae or significant places (geographical, events-based or wahi tapu). The Nelson Provincial Museum offers an education programme Ngā iwi o Te Tau Ihu.

*1 In my own practice, I included this teaching and learning sequence as part of a broader theme of learning about the making of Aotearoa.

*2 Since the completion of my sabbatical project, mana whenua iwi have provided local kura with a range of resources to be used in the teaching and learning of their histories. These taonga were launched at the Te Kāhui Mātauranga o Te Tauihu o te Waka a Māui Education Symposium ‘Kia wetewetea ko Māui ahau!’ in October 2022. Additional resources are in development.

*3 Following the completion of my sabbatical, and the development of this sequence of learning intended for Social Studies, we also decided to trial teaching and learning of the Musket Wars as a History unit. This required me to change the approach albeit using much of the same context. I have included the rough overview below in case it is useful; but note that as we trial it in our kura and as different teachers have input our end unit will likely differ significantly.

Possible framework for learning about the Musket Wars

  • Rationale - Why should we learn about the Musket Wars?
  • Deadliest conflict in Aotearoa history
  • Led to largest internal migration in our history
  • Significant consequences which last up to today – especially in our rohe Te Tau Ihu
  • Because it is a significant misconception that Aotearoa NZ’s history started with Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • It is an excellent example of Māori agency – the between worlds blending old and new from traditional Māori society with the new tools and technology they acquired with contact

1. Context

  • Māori society and warfare
    • What we already know (or don’t)
    • Geography of NZ pre-European contact
      • Human/ iwi/hapū locations – waka affiliations, etc.
      • Physical geography – landscape, resources – food, trade and transport, etc.
    • Key values of Māori society
      • Especially Mana
      • Take/utu/ea – reciprocity and balance
    • Tribal politics
      • rivalries and alliances, eg. Ngā Puhi and Ngāti Whātua/ Waikato
      • traditional conflict - how, why, when, etc. (and the limitations)
  • Contact with Europeans
    • What we already know (or don’t)
    • Limitations by 1820s eg. Coastal, Far North – Kororāreka/ Bay of Islands
    • Trade relationships
      • Goods and rates of exchange
      • Reciprocity & service industry of Māori
      • Impact on Ngā Puhi – grudges and advantages
    • Impact of European contact on Māori
      • Disease
      • Technology and food especially guns and potatoes
      • Economic change
        • Pressure on labour force
        • Cost of goods in flax and potatoes (could even include ‘curiosities’, eg. Mokomōkai as trade in those also benefitted from war)
        • Sex industry
        • Desire for labour – links to slavery

2. Event  - The Musket Wars

  • Hōngi Hika’s trip to England followed by Ngā Puhi raids
  • Te Rauparaha and his allies forced out of Kāwhia by Waikato and hekenga south
  • Te Rauparaha’s campaigns d. Te Tau Ihu and Te Waipounamu
    • Students could research a hapū/iwi, battle or leader
    • Note the extent of detail/ depth for the event is up to the teacher and students, eg. You might just cover general narrative, or focus in on one stage, eg. Ngāti Toa/Kai Tāhu or the genocide on Rēkohu
    • I have not included East Coast or Bay of Plenty campaigns in my overview here as these are not so relevant to our area, but you may wish to cover for the overall narrative and to show how affected all of Aotearoa

3. Consequences/ significance/ impact on people

  • Deaths/ cost – fatal impact? Genocide?
  • Europeans – land/settlements, treaty, religion – evidence Māori were uncivilised? Slavery and cannibalism exaggerated for this purpose .
  • Mass migration (with particular focus on impact on Te Tau Ihu)
    • mana whenua status and complicated relationship between conquerors and tangata whenua at the time of ToW
    • Dislocation from tūrangawaewae and loss of identity
    • Mōrehu – survivors and attempts to retain identity through resilience
    • Some hapū were exterminated
  • Scale - affected whole of Aotearoa up to today
    • Students could inquire into impact on a region/rohe or their home place
    • Potential jigsaw learning
  • Political impact
    • Eg. Land sales/ occupation, ToW, sides for future wars (NZ Wars)

Overall analysis – History is constructed and History is contested

  • How were these wars different to later wars?
    • Scale, scope, length, cost, casualties, non-combatant deaths, etc
  • Why if these events were so huge, do we not know about them?
    • More New Zealanders died than in WWI
    • ANZAC Day compared to no memorials for Musket Wars
    • Significant battles occurred in our rohe – where? Why don’t we know this? Should we know, and if so how should we remember?

You could explore the issue of names – many see the Musket Wars as problematic. What could a suitable alternative be? Are any of the other names more appropriate?

R Baird, Te Kura Tamawāhine o Whakatū | Nelson College for Girls, 2023.