Waitaha (South Island iwi)

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Iwi (tribe) in Māoridom
Rohe (region) South Island

Waitaha is an early Māori iwi (tribe or nation). Inhabitants of the South Island of New Zealand, they were largely absorbed via marriage and conquest first by the Kāti Māmoe and then Ngāi Tahu from the 16th century onward. Today those of Waitaha descent are represented by the Ngāi Tahu iwi. [1]

Māori people Indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand

The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages some time between 1250 and 1300. Over several centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a unique culture, with their own language, a rich mythology, and distinctive crafts and performing arts. Early Māori formed tribal groups based on eastern Polynesian social customs and organisation. Horticulture flourished using plants they introduced; later, a prominent warrior culture emerged.

Iwi are the largest social units in Aotearoa Māori society. The Māori-language word iwi means "people" or "nation", and is often translated as "tribe", or "a confederation of tribes". The word is both singular and plural in Māori.

South Island Southernmost of the two main islands in New Zealand

The South Island, also officially named Te Waipounamu, is the larger of the two major islands of New Zealand in surface area; the other being the smaller but more populous North Island. It is bordered to the north by Cook Strait, to the west by the Tasman Sea, and to the south and east by the Pacific Ocean. The South Island covers 150,437 square kilometres (58,084 sq mi), making it the world's 12th-largest island. It has a temperate climate.


Latter day claim

In 1995, a book by controversial author Barry Brailsford, Song of Waitaha: The Histories of a Nation, claimed that the ancestors of a "Nation of Waitaha" were the first inhabitants of New Zealand, three groups of people of different races, two of light complexion and one of dark complexion, who had arrived in New Zealand from an unspecified location in the Pacific, 67 generations before the book appeared. The book was controversial and the subject of political and tribal debate in New Zealand, and all reputable historians deny that this claimed Waitaha ever existed.[ citation needed ]

Although a series of further books, web sites and events have addressed these claims, they have been widely disputed and dismissed by scholars. Historian Michael King noted: "There was not a skerrick of evidence linguistic, artifactual, genetic; no datable carbon or pollen remains, nothing that the story had any basis in fact. Which would make Waitaha the first people on earth to live in a country for several millennia and leave no trace of their occupation." [2]

Michael King New Zealand popular historian

Michael King was a New Zealand popular historian, author, and biographer. He wrote or edited over 30 books on New Zealand topics, including the best-selling Penguin History of New Zealand, which was the most popular New Zealand book of 2004.


Several organisations have "Waitaha" as part of their title, often as a synonym for Canterbury or in a generic "ancient links to the land" sense. Some are:

Canterbury, New Zealand Region of New Zealand in South Island

Canterbury is a region of New Zealand, located in the central-eastern South Island. The region covers an area of 44,508 square kilometres (17,185 sq mi), and is home to a population of 624,000.

Dunedin City in Otago, New Zealand

Dunedin is the second-largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the principal city of the Otago region. Its name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.

Otago Region of New Zealand in South Island

Otago is a region of New Zealand in the south of the South Island administered by the Otago Regional Council. It has an area of approximately 32,000 square kilometres (12,000 sq mi), making it the country's third largest local government region. Its population was 229,200 in June 2018.

New Zealand Educational Institute

The New Zealand Educational Institute is the largest education trade union in New Zealand. It was founded in 1883 and has a membership of 50,000.

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Taare Parata New Zealand politician

Taare Rakatauhake Parata, also known as Charles Rere Parata, was a Māori and a Liberal Party Member of Parliament in New Zealand.

Robert Agrippa Moengaroa Whaitiri was a notable New Zealand guide, soldier, launch and tug master, factory manager, community leader. Of Māori descent, he identified with the Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe and Waitaha iwi. He was born in Bluff, Southland, New Zealand in 1916.

See also

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  1. "Ngai Tahu official website". ngaitahu.iwi.nz. Ngai Tahu . Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  2. Michael King (2003). The Penguin History of New Zealand. Penguin Books. ISBN   0-14-301867-1.
  3. "Waitaha Scout Group". scoutingotago.org.nz. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  4. "Waitaha Cultural Council". waitahaculturalcouncil.co.nz. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
  5. "Canterbury/Waitaha District Council". wcdc-nzei.org.nz. Retrieved 10 September 2016.