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Ngāti Whātua
Iwi of New Zealand
Rohe (location) Northland and Auckland area
Waka (canoe) Māhuhu-ki-te-rangi

Ngāti Whātua is a Māori iwi (tribe) of New Zealand. It consists of three hapu (subtribes): Te Uri-o-Hau, Te Roroa, and Ngāti Whātua.

By the time of European settlement in New Zealand, Ngāti Whātua's territory or rohe was around the Kaipara Harbour and stretching south to Tamaki Makaurau, the site of present-day Auckland, including in what is today Waitakere City.[1] In earlier centuries, the iwi had migrated from further north on the Northland Peninsula.

Rivalry with Ngapuhi escalated in the early 19th century when Ngapuhi acquired muskets. Ngapuhi attacked Ngāti Whātua in 1807 or 1808 in the battle of Moremonui, probably the first use of firearms in Māori warfare. Ngāti Whātua overcame the Ngapuhi warriors with hand weapons while Ngapuhi were reloading their muskets, winning a decisive victory over the attackers. Ngapuhi, led by Hongi Hika, exacted revenge in 1825 when they defeated Ngāti Whātua in the battle of Te Ika a Ranganui.

Wishing to attract European settlement in their area, Ngāti Whātua offered land at Tamaki Makaurau to Governor William Hobson in 1840. Hobson took up the offer and moved the capital of New Zealand to Tamaki Makaurau, naming the settlement Auckland.

Ngāti Whātua came to national prominence in the 1970s in a dispute over vacant land at Bastion Point, a little way east of the Auckland city centre, adjoining the suburb of Orakei. The land, which had been acquired cheaply for public works many decades before, was largely returned to the tribe after a long and not entirely bloodless occupation.


  1. ^ About the City - The History (from the Waitakere City Council website. Accessed 2009-12-01.)

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