Eight iwi are tangata whenua in Te Tau Ihu:
Tasman District also covers the northern-western part of the Ngāi Tahu takiwā (tribal area/territory).
A statutory acknowledgment is legal recognition of the particular cultural, spiritual, historical and traditional association of an iwi with an identified statutory area.
The Māori population has increased steadily in recent years. As at the 2018 Census there were 4,572 Māori in the Tasman District - a 33% increase since 2013.
Both Kaumātua provide the Mayor and elected members with support around tikanga Māori at civic events.
This role also enhances Council’s understanding of iwi and Māori priorities and supports the Council’s Community Outcome of “our communities have opportunities to celebrate and explore their heritage, identity and creativity”.
This statement outlines the steps we intend to take to foster Māori capacity to contribute to our decision-making processes during the current Long Term Plan.
This brief history of iwi in the region is taken from The Tangata Whenua Tribes of Te Tau Ihu by Hilary and John Mitchell.
Three of the eight tangata whenua iwi in Te Tau Ihu (Rangitane, Ngati Kuia and Ngati Apa) are of Kurahaupo waka origins; three (Ngati Toa, Ngati Koata and Ngati Rarua) descend from the Tainui waka; and two are from northern Taranaki (Ngati Tama of Tokomaru waka origins and Te Atiawa of Aotea or Kurahaupo descent).
Kuia, Rangitane and Apa were dramatically displaced as manawhenua iwi (having authority over the land) when they were defeated by the alliance of Tainui and Taranaki iwi (Ngati Toa, Ngati Koata, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama, Te Atiawa) c1828-1832, although they retain their tangata whenua status.
Toa, Koata and Rarua, had been forced to abandon their lands around Kawhia Harbour in 1821 by their better-armed Tainui cousins, Waikato and Ngati Maniapoto.
After a ten-month stay in north Taranaki with relatives (Ngati Tama, Ngati Mutunga and Te Atiawa), which was spent planting and harvesting crops, hunting, fishing and preserving foods, the Toa chief, Te Rauparaha, led Te Heke Tataramoa down the west coast of the North Island. This was named the Bramble Bush Expedition, because of the difficulties of the journey.
The Kawhia tribes and contingents of Tama, Mutunga and Atiawa conquered and occupied the districts of Rangitikei, Manawatu, Horowhenua, Otaki, Kapiti, Porirua and Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington).
After establishing themselves there, the allies (minus Mutunga who had migrated to the Chathams) turned their attention to the South Island to exact utu on Kurahaupo who had challenged them at Kapiti, and to avenge insults.
Between 1828 and 1832, war parties conquered Te Tau Ihu (Nelson-Marlborough), and as far south as Kaiapoi and Okarito. Iwi subsequently agreed on the division of lands. Toa and some Rarua occupied the Wairau, Port Underwood, and northern Kaikoura Coast.
Atiawa spread throughout Queen Charlotte Sound and Tory Channel. Koata settled at Rangitoto (D'Urville Island), the Croisilles and outer Pelorus, while Toa stayed in Pelorus Valley and the inner Sound. Tama got Wakapuaka and Rarua, Atiawa and some Tama occupied Motueka, Mohua and Te Tai Tapu (on the west coast south of Farewell Spit). Those Kurahaupo who survived were enslaved or withdrew to inland hiding places.
This passage is taken from Nelson: A Regional History by Jim McAloon.
Legends tell of Uruao, the first of the Polynesian voyaging canoes to land in Nelson. Although the archaeological record is sketchy and the first settlement date debated, carbon dating indicates that, like the rest of New Zealand, Nelson was first settled around the ninth century.
Gardens were quickly established throughout the region, including alongside the Waimea River, and in Motueka and Riwaka, Māpua and Parapara. Hunting and gathering, along with cultivation of kūmara (sweet potato), were vital to these early settlers and excavations show that a variety of fish were also consumed. Seabirds, ducks, pukeko, kaka, tui and kakariki were just some of the birds that provided sustenance. The abundance of seafood, birds and favourable gardening conditions for kūmara made this land sought after.
Most villages were on the coast, close to river valleys. The location of each settlement was planned with both transport and food in mind. Waka (canoes) were used around the coast and up river valleys. Information on the traditions of tribes who lived in the region before and up to the 1820s has been difficult to document in detail, in part due to the displacement of tribes. Ngāti Tumatakōkiri were settled over the whole district from Whakapuaka to Karamea by the time Abel Tasman arrived in 1642.
The succession of tribes into the area suggests considerable warfare interrupted their lives. Around 1828, Ngati Toa under Te Rauparaha and the allied northern tribes of Ngati Rarua, Te Ātiawa and Ngati Tama, started their invasion of the South Island. They had travelled from Kawhia and North Taranaki to conquer the region between 1828 and 1834, and had settled their people on the lands in the Nelson region. They took over much of the area from Farewell Spit to the Wairau River.
The ancestors - Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama and Te Ātiawa - held authority over the Nelson-Motueka-Golden Bay lands at the time of European settlement in 1841. Ngāti Koata was based at Rangitoto (D'Urville Island) and Croisilles, Ngāti Tama at Wakapuaka, Motueka and Golden Bay, and Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa were both at Motueka and Golden Bay. The tribes had large cultivations from which they supplied the whaling industry in Marlborough which was in its heyday in the 1830s and the new colonial settlers arriving in the 1840s.
Nelson and Tasman Māori generally welcomed European settlement as an opportunity to expand their trade, although it is unlikely that they realised just how many new-comers would pour into their lives and they would not have foreseen a time when they would become a minority in their own country.