Waipa Māori - Historical Background

Settlement of the Waikato & Waipā District, in particular by the Tainui people, started as they began to explore inland several generations after initially settling at their landing place of Kawhia.

They eventually displaced the earlier inhabitants, Ngāti Kahupungapunga either by war or assimilation.

Virtually all the tangata whenua, (local people), of Waipā can trace their ancestry to Tāwhao, a direct descendant of Hoturoa the captain of the Tainui canoe.

The settlement of Ōtāwhao is currently known as Te Awamutu and means the ‘end of the navigable way’ where it was impractical to bring a canoe any further upstream.

Waipa District was a very fertile area and was densely populated by Māori for many generations until the land wars of the early 1860’s.

The Crown Forces under General Cameron invaded the Waikato which resulted in the confiscation of 1.2 million acres of the Waikato. This included Waipa’s fertile agricultural lands with the southern boundary being the Puniu river.

The indigenous communities were then replaced initially by the garrison towns of Alexandra (Pirongia), Te Awamutu, Kihikihi and Cambridge with much of the land then being balloted to the military settlers.

As time passed and farming practices improved, the Waipā now enjoys the reputation of being the heart of New Zealand’s dairy industry with the above mentioned settlements now being service centres for the farming and equine industries.

Ngā Hapū

The Iwi in Waipā all affiliate to Tainui Waka, the major hapū are then:

  • Waikato/Tainui
  • Ngāti Raukawa
  • Ngāti Koroki/Kahukura
  • Ngāti Maniapoto
  • Ngāti Apakura
  • Ngāti Haua 
  • Ngāti Hikairo
  • Ngāti Mahanga
Page reviewed: 24 Feb 2014 4:27pm