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Iwi in our district

Ngaa iwi o Waikato

Turangawaewae Ngaruawahia
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The Waikato region
Waikato-Tainui overview
Waikato marae

Find out more about iwi in the Waikato region and our district and Waikato-Tainui.

The Waikato region

The region is described in the following tongi (saying):

  Mokau ki Runga

  Mokau to the south


  Tamaki ki Raro

  Tamaki to the north


  Mangatoatoa ki waenganui

  Mangatoatoa in the middle


  Pare Hauraki, Pare Waikato Te   Kaokao roa o Patetere
  Ki te nehenehenui


  From the mouth of Waikato River in the west to all of Hauraki, Waikato Hauraki  protects the Kaokaoroa o Paatetere range to the Nehenehenui

  Waikato taniwha-rau
  He piko, he taniwha
  He piko, he taniwha

  Waikato of one hundred chiefs at every bend (of the river) a chief


Waikato-Tainui - overview

Waikato-Tainui are tangata whenua ('people of the land') of the Waikato region. Thirty nine of their marae are located within Waikato District Council’s boundaries.

Did you know that 'Tainui' was the name of an infant who did not survive childbirth? At the child's burial site grew a great tree. This tree was used to build the voyaging waka (canoe), called ‘Tainui’. Led by the chief, Hoturoa, the Tainui waka was one of the migratory canoes that voyaged from Hawaiiki across the Pacific Ocean to Aotearoa over 800 years ago.

There are four principal tribes that comprise the Tainui waka. They are Hauraki, Ngaati Maniapoto, Ngaati Raukawa and Waikato (Source:

The Waikato-Tainui iwi are the kai-tiaki (guardian) of the Kiingitanga. The Kiingitanga was established in 1863 to unite iwi and halt land alienation.

In the 2013 Census, 55,995 people in New Zealand indicated they were affiliated with Waikato-Tainui, with 34.5 per cent of them living within the Waikato region.* However, the Waikato-Tainui tribal register, administered by the iwi, has over 67,000 registered members (as at October 2015).











 (Whanau groups)


 Registered tribal members*



*34.5% reside in the Waikato region, 32.3% in the Auckland region and 7.9% in the Bay of Plenty region.

The Waikato-Tainui tribal administration centre is at 4 Bryce Street, Hamilton (postal address: PO Box 648, Hamilton 3240). You can contact staff by phone 0800 TAINUI (0800 824 684) or 07 585 0430.

See the Waikato-Tainui website ‘About Us’ section for more information on Waikato-Tainui history and contemporary governance and organisational structure.  

Waikato marae

Thirty-nine of the sixty-eight Waikato-Tainui marae sit within the Waikato District Council's boundaries.  We work continuously to ensure that views and interests of these marae communities are considered in decision-making and planning. This includes regular liaison with iwi and hapu environmental representatives on resource consent and other associated matters.

See the Te Puni Kokiri website for a map showing Waikato-Tainui tribal areas (rohe); a list of hapu and marae within these areas; and a list of representative iwi organisations in relation to this information.

See the Waikato Regional Council's website to view regional iwi management plans and find out more about Maaori and the Waikato River and its co-management

Find out more about local iwi working together with our Council, other Maaori and iwi organisations and other stakeholders such as Waikato-Tainui and the Waikato Regional Council. In particular, our Council is involved in a number of initiatives related to managing the Waikato River and the Waipa River.