Story: Muaūpoko

Page 3. Muaūpoko today

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In 2004 the Muaūpoko people had their administrative base and main centre at Levin in the Horowhenua region. Other significant populations can be found in the Wellington Harbour region, Wairarapa and southern Hawke’s Bay, and Taranaki. Although records show that there have been 27 sub-tribes, only six are now active. These are Ngāi Te Ao, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Pāriri, Ngāti Tamarangi, Ngāti Whanokirangi, and Punahau.

Lake Horowhenua

Waipunahāu (Lake Horowhenua) remains a significant rallying point for tribe members. Muaūpoko own the lake, and both of the active marae overlook the water. The lake was once an abundant source of food – eel, whitebait, crayfish, flounder, freshwater mussels, water birds and native pigeons. However, the lake and its surrounds deteriorated because of the clearance of forest and wetland vegetation, and waste from farming activities.

Since 1996 Muaūpoko, through their Lake Horowhenua Trust, have been involved in one of New Zealand’s largest environmental restoration projects. The aim is to replenish the lake’s fisheries and improve the water quality. This involves a replanting programme; there is a plant nursery on the lake shore.

Tribal initiatives

The Muaūpoko Tribal Authority provides health and welfare services for tribe members and the wider community. Muaūpoko also celebrate Waitangi Day by holding competitions for kapa haka (Māori performing arts) and touch football matches. This is a time when the hapū (sub-tribes) of Muaūpoko can come together and celebrate their collective identity. The main goal is to pass on to the younger generation ancestral customs and songs, so that these treasures are not lost forever. It is planned to establish traditional schools of learning in order to revive and maintain the customs, traditions and history of the Muaūpoko people.

How to cite this page:

Darren Reid, 'Muaūpoko - Muaūpoko today', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 August 2022)

Story by Darren Reid, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Feb 2015