As at 5 March 2013 and according to the 2013 census:

125,601 people

(18.8% of the total Māori population) are

22.4 years







of those 15 years and over stated they had NEVER BEEN A REGULAR SMOKER


Could hold a conversation about everyday things in TE REO MĀORI

The above information is a summary only, further census information about Ngāpuhi, and other Iwi is available from Statistics NZ.

We look forward to being able to share the results of the 2018 NZ Census with you as soon as the information is available.

Ko Kupe te hautipua

The epic story of Ngāpuhi unfolds down the generations, beginning in a distant time and place, with an incident that is both ordinary and extraordinary.

The time was approximately 20 generations before Kupe, the great Polynesian navigator who discovered Aotearoa, with another two or three generations before the great migration to these shores. The place was Hawaiki, which is sometimes described as a mythical place, although it most certainly existed even if we no longer know its exact location.

The incident involved Kareroariki, a mother-to-be who craved a special food; common enough for pregnant women.

What made it extraordinary was that she did not crave some special kai moana or fruit. No, Kareroariki hungered for the taste of the human heart. As an ariki, or chieftainess, she had the authority to demand her wish be granted and a highborn young maiden, of a similar rank, was sacrificed to satisfy this desire.

This is the beginning of the esoteric knowledge that has been passed down, in oral tradition, from our forbears and is taught today in our wananga.

Three names emerge from the birth of the child of Kareroariki, – they are Puhikaiariki, Puhimoanariki and Puhitaniwharau – which collectively give rise to the plural, ngā, or many – Ngāpuhi. All three feature significantly in Ngāpuhi history.

The fact that we take our name from an event – rather than an ancestor, as is the case with most tribes – is highly unusual. Indeed there are orators who would deny this entirely, referring to Puhimoanariki of the Mataatua waka, as the original ancestor of Ngāpuhi. There is however no korero, or oral tradition, to support this.

All waka with Ngāpuhi whakapapa – that is to say genealogical lines – landed in Hokianga and spread out from there. So it is that we Ngāpuhi claim a tribal area with boundaries described in this whakatauki or proverb:

Te Whare O Ngāpuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau ki Te Rerenga Wairua. Ko ngā paatu ko Ngāti Whātua, Te Rārawa, Te Aupouri, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi ki roto. Ko ngā Rarangi Maunga ngā Poutokomanawa i hikia te Tahuhu o Te Whare O Ngāpuhi.”

The house of Ngāpuhi stretches from Tāmaki Makaurau in the south to Cape Reinga in the north, its walls are the sub-tribes: Ngāti Whatua in the south, Te Rārawa in the west, Te Aupouri in the north and Ngāti Kahu in the east, Ngāpuhi holds the centre of the House, and the mountains of significance within Ngāpuhi are the pillars or poupou, which hold the ridgepole aloft.

Another mark of Ngāpuhi is that we are fiercely loyal to our whanāu and hapū. Our traditional, communal way of life, focused around our marae, seeks to remain as strong today as in the time of Kareroariki.

Our history reminds us that we too often bickered among ourselves, but when facing a common enemy we would set aside our differences, our rangatira would gather, agree on a battle plan and then fight as one. In this way many a dreadful enemy was defeated.

Today we must act in a similar manner, always mindful of the needs of individual whanāu and hapū within our takiwā. Yet equally determined to act with common purpose for the collective good.

We must seek true tino rangatiratanga – economic, cultural and social freedom – for the Ngāpuhi nation as a whole. Together, we must face the challenges that confront us.

Ko te Whare Tapu o Ngāpuhi

He mea hanga tōku whare, ko Papatuānuku te paparahi.
Ko nga maunga nga poupou, ko Ranginui e titiro iho nei, te tuanui.
Pūhanga-tohora titiro ki Te Ramaroa e whakakurupaeake ra i te Hauāuru.
Te Ramaroa titiro ki Whīria, te Paiaka o te riri, te kawa o Rāhiri.
Whīria titiro ki Panguru, ki Papata, ki te rākau tū papata ki te tai Hauāuru;
Panguru, Papata titiro ki Maungataniwha.
Maungataniwha titiro ki Tokerau.
Tokerau titiro ki Rākaumangamanga.
Rākaumangamanga titiro ki Manaia, e tū kōhatu mai rā i te akau.
Manaia titiro ki Tutamoe.
Tutamoe titiro ki Maunganui.
Maunganui titiro ki Pūhanga-tohora.
Ehara aku maunga i te maunga nekeneke, he maunga tū tonu, tū te Ao tū te Po.
Ko te Whare Tapu o Ngāpuhi tenei, tihei mauri ora.

This whakatauki depicts the sacred house of Ngāpuhi. Ranginui (sky father), is the overarching Tuānui (roof), with the sacred Mountains being the Poupou (pillars).

The boundaries are within the area covered by these sacred Maunga (mountains), of Ngāpuhi.

Ko Rāhiri te Tupuna

We trace our ancestry back to Rāhiri, a formidable Rangatira and warrior. Rāhiri was born in Whīria at Pākanae; he married Ahuaiti from Pakaraka who lived at Pouerua Pa. Uenuku was their son.

While Rāhiri was living with Ahuaiti at Pouerua he heard that her two brothers Korakatea and Korakanui were coming to visit. Rāhiri knew that he would not be home when her brothers arrived, so he told his wife that she was not to give them the best mongeroi (fernroot), instead she was to feed them the inferior ones.

Rāhiri arrived home to find that Ahuaiti had ignored his wishes and fed them the good fernroot. Angry, Rāhiri left Ahuaiti and Uenuku and returned to Pākanae.

In time Uenuku became a man and he asked his mother ‘who is my father?’ His name had been lengthened to Uenukukuaare because he did not have the esoteric knowledge that a young man of high birth such as him should have had. Kuaare means to be ignorant or to lack understanding. Ahuaiti told him who his father was.

Meanwhile Rāhiri had married Whakaruru from Pākanae, and they had had a son – Kaharau.

Uenuku went to see his father; he wanted to know the incantations and rituals that would complete his knowledge. Ahuaiti told Uenuku to follow the Mangakāhia River and taste of its waters every now and then. When the river had become salty he would find his father there.

Rāhiri welcomed him but there was tension between the brothers. As tuakana, Uenuku believed himself to be above Kaharau. Rāhiri wanted to settle the matter so he gathered his two sons together and threw a manurere into the sky. The wind caught it and the three chased it.

Finally the manurere came to rest at Tāhuna, near Kaikohe. All the lands west of Tāhuna now belonged to Kaharau, east of Tāhuna now belonged to Uenuku. This is also the reason that Kaikohe is known as Te Pu o te Wheke, the heart of the octopus, the gateway between east and west.

Rāhiri said to his sons:

Ka mimiti te puna i Taumārere
Ka toto te puna i Hokianga
Ka toto te puna i Taumārere
Ka mimiti te puna i Hokianga

This translates as:

When the fountain of Taumārere is empty
The fountain of Hokianga is full
When the fountain of Taumārere is full
The fountain of Hokianga is empty

Rāhiri had drawn upon the imagery of two rivers; Hokianga in the west and Taumārere in the east, to show the brothers that what happened to one affected the other. Their fortunes were intertwined, and so the whakatauki represents an alliance of destinies of Ngāpuhi on the Tai Tama Wahine (eastern) and Tai Tama Tāne (western) coasts.

The eastern coast was called Tai Tama Wahine because of its beautiful, tranquil harbours and bays. And although still beautiful, Tai Tama Tāne was less forgiving than the east coast, more rugged and a thousand times more dangerous.

This alliance linked the two sides of the peninsular together and from this the strength and influence of Ngāpuhi grew, and it is also the reason why Ngāpuhi remained paramount in the north.

Another account tells of Korakatea and Korakanui as Rāhiri’s brothers. It also states that the manurere first came to rest by a river against a puriri tree.  Rāhiri named that place Whirinaki that means to lean, or, a buttress or support pillar.

He hoisted it, and again it was caught by the wind. It flew on and on through the valleys, turned east across the plain that is present day Kaikohe and finally descended beside the Taumārere River.

It is important to remember that there are many hapū variations of this and other stories – alternate versions are not wrong.

The three sacred waves of Nukutawhiti

Te Ngarunui, Te Ngaruroa, Te Ngarupaewhenua
The great wave, the long wave and the wave that lands upon the shore

Kupe gave his waka Matawhaorua to his grandnephew Nukutawhiti to travel from Hawaiiki to Hokianga. However the waka of Kupe had been sunk in a fresh water lagoon for several decades, was unbalanced and required restoration. Nukutawhiti used his toki (adaze) to rework and balance Matawhaorua and renamed it Ngātokimatawhaorua as a consequence of his mahi.

Kupe instructed Nukutawhiti to point the bows of his re-adzed waka, to the cloud pillar that lies to the south west and at night to steer Ngātokimatawhaorua to the star Atua-tahi. “At the break of light in the morning hold your waka to the left of Mangoroa (the Milky Way) and continue towards the cloud pillar,” he told him. Kupe explained to Nukutawhiti the location of Te Hokianga nui ā Kupe (The great returning place of Kupe – The Hokianga Harbour) where his son Tuputupu Whenua was laid to rest in Te Puna o Te Ao Mārama, as a protection and claim to the harbour for the people of Nukutawhiti.

Nukutawhiti departed with his cousin Ruanui on the Māmari waka from Hawaiiki, reciting a karakia to call up the Ngarunui (large wave) to travel on. The two waka travelled together on Ngarunui with several taniwha including Puhi Moana Āriki wandering back and forth on the waves in front of them as protection.

The crisscrossing of the taniwha Puhi Moana Āriki across Ngarunui in front of the two waka, and the early warnings that this taniwha was able to give Nukutawhiti, gave rise to a new name for Puhi, being Puhi Te Āewa (Puhi the wave surfer). The descendant of Nukutawhiti took these names as iwi names generations after their arrival in Taitokerau, Ngāpuhi and Te Āewa. Ueoneone is a descendant of the people of Te Āewa, who generations later became known as Te Rārawa.

After initiating their journey on Ngarunui this wave dropped away and Ngaruroa (the long wave) guided Nukutawhiti and Ruanui across Te Moana ā Kiwa (The Pacific Ocean) and Te Moana Tāpokapoka ā Tāwhaki (The Tasman) to the Hokianga harbour.

When they arrived at the Hokianga Nukutawhiti and Ruanui were confronted by huge and turbulent seas, created by the karakia of Kupe as protection for the Hokianga when he tossed his belt into the ocean. The belt of Kupe is embodied now in the infamous and treacherous Hokianga Bar. To calm the waters Nukutawhiti recited a now famous karakia, ‘E kau ki te Tai e’ which Ngāpuhi still recites to this day on our marae and in haka.

With the Hokianga Bar now calm, Nukutawhiti then sent the taniwha Puhi Moana Āriki (Puhi Te Āewa) and Rangi Uru Hinga back to Hawaiiki to inform Kupe that they had arrived safely in the Hokianga. The taniwha Araiteuru and Niniwa entered the Hokianga to protect the two waka. Araiteuru resides now to the south and Niniwa guards the north at the mouth of the Hokianga harbour. These taniwha provide Ngāpuhi with much strength and mana as shown in the famous Ngāpuhi whakatauki:

“Kotahi ki reira, ki Araiteuru.
Kotahi ki reira, ki Niniwa.
A homai he toa, he kaha,
e aua taniwha, ki Ngāpuhi”

“One there is for Araiteuru.
One there is for Niniwa.
May those taniwha bring courage
and strength to Ngāpuhi.”

At this point both waka then proceeded to land on the shores of the Hokianga, Nukutawhiti to the North and Ruanui to the South; Ngaruroa then dropped away and Ngarupaewhenua (the wave which breaks on the shore) guided them both onto land.

Nukutawhiti named his first son Ngarunui to remember the assistance Ngarunui had given to them on their journey from Hawaiiki. Ngarunui subsequently named his first son Ngaruroa, and Ngaruroa named his first son Ngarupaewhenua.

These are the three tapu waves of Nukutawhiti and Ngāpuhi, which also represent the three stages of success. The first Ngarunui being to decide to begin a journey or task, the second Ngaruroa being to stick with the journey and do the hard yards, the third wave Ngarupaewheuna being to see that journey through to its completion.

Ngarunui, Ngaruroa, Ngarupaewhenua, ko ngā ngaru tapu e toru o Nukutawhiti me Ngāpuhi.

Ngāpuhi Whakatauki Kōrero

Ka mimiti te puna i Taumārere
Ka toto te puna i Hokianga
Ka toto te puna i Taumārere
Ka mimiti te puna i Hokianga

When the fountain of Taumārere is empty
The fountain of Hokianga is full
When the fountain of Taumārere is full
The fountain of Hokianga is empty

Kotahi ki reira ki Āraiteuru,
kotahi ki reira kotahi ki Niua,
ā homai he toa, he kaha
e aua taniwha ki Ngāpuhi.

One there is Äraiteuru,
another there is Niua;
may those taniwha bring courage
and strength to Ngāpuhi.

Ka kata ngā puriri o Tāiāmai.

The pūriri trees at Taiāmai are laughing.

Ka kī a Hokianga, ka kore te puru a Taumārere

When Hokianga is full, then the plug is out at Taumārere

He rangai maomao ka
taka ki tua o Nukutaurua,
e kore a muri e hokia.

When a shoal of maomao fish has
passed to seaward of Nukutaurua rock,
it will never return.

Ngāti Hine Pukepuke Rau.

Ngāti Hine of a hundred hills. Ngāti Hine of a hundred chiefs; each hill has its own chief.

Te Hokianga nui o Kupe.

Kupe’s final return.

Tatai whetu ki te rangi,
mau tonu mau tonu
Tatai tangata ki te whenua,
ngaro noa, ngaro noa

The starry hosts of heaven
abide there for ever, immutable
The hosts of men upon this earth
pass away into oblivion

Hare Hongi

Hokianga whakapau karakia.

Hokianga where the karakia became exhausted.