Story: Hauraki tribes

Stretching from Mahurangi, north of Auckland, to Katikati near Tauranga, the Hauraki district has seen the intermingling of many tribes. Through conflict and war, but also through migration, intermarriage and gifts of land, they have each won a place in this region of harbours, islands and peninsulas.

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal
Main image: Moehau Mountain

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Tribes of the Hauraki region

The Hauraki region includes the Tāmaki isthmus, Te Hapū-a-Kohe, the Piako, Ōhinemuri and Wairoa districts, the Coromandel Peninsula and Whangamatā. Although it is dominated by tribes of the Marutūahu confederation, it is also home to many other tribes, including Te Patukirikiri, Ngāti Hako, Ngāti Huarere, Ngāti Hei, Ngāi Tai, Ngāti Pūkenga and Ngāti Rāhiri.

Te Patukirikiri

The people of Te Patukirikiri were led by the ancestor Kapetaua, who originally belonged to the Wai-o-hua tribe of the Tāmaki isthmus. They were named after a famous victory on a beach where the only weapons (patu) they had were rocks and stones (kirikiri).

Ngāti Hako

Ngāti Hako were the earliest people to settle Hauraki. Their survival among the Marutūahu tribes was ensured when a high-born Ngāti Hako woman, Ruawehea, married Tamaterā, son of the founding ancestor Marutūahu.

Ngāti Huarere

The Te Arawa canoe landed at various points around the Coromandel Peninsula, and left both people and place names. Ngāti Huarere took their name from Huarere, grandson of Tamatekapua, the captain of Te Arawa. Tamatekapua was buried on Moehau Mountain, which is known as Te Moengahau-o-Tamatekapua (the windy sleeping place of Tametekapua).

Ngāti Hei

Ngāti Hei also trace their descent from the Te Arawa canoe, and from Hei, the uncle of Tamatekapua. They managed to survive conflicts with the Marutūahu people and Ngāpuhi, and are now located around Whitianga-o-Kupe (Whitianga Harbour).

Ngāi Tai

The Ngāi Tai people of Hauraki are related to Ngāi Tai in the Bay of Plenty through three sisters, Te Raukohekohe, Motu-i-tawhiti and Te Kaweinga, who came north and married men from Hauraki. Both Ngāi Tai tribes trace their lines back to the Tainui canoe.

Ngāti Pūkenga

Ngāti Pūkenga trace their origins to the Mataatua canoe. They moved north from Tauranga to the Coromandel Peninsula in the 19th century.

Ngāti Rāhiri

The ancestor Rāhiri arrived at Whakatāne on the Mataatua canoe, and then accompanied it on its journey north. He later returned to Whakatāne via Hauraki. Members of his party decided to stay in Hauraki, and took the name Ngāti Rāhiri.


In 2013, more than 3,000 people claimed descent from the Hauraki tribes.

How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Hauraki tribes', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 23 February 2024)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 3 Mar 2017