Population and settlement
With over 35,000 members in 2013, Ngāti Maniapoto is one of the larger tribes.
There are some 42 marae. Te Tokanga-nui-a-noho marae stands at the centre of the tribal domain in Te Kūiti township, and remains a focal point of tribal identity.
Safety in numbers
The name of Te Tokanga-nui-a-noho marae means ‘the large basket of the home dweller’, and is commemorated in a tribal saying:
He aha koe i haere mai ai i te rourou iti a haere, tē noho atu ai i te tokanganuianoho?
Why did you come with the small basket of the traveller? Better if you had stayed away with the large basket of the home dweller.
This comes from a well-known Tainui story. Parewhete left her husband Wairangi (the legendary grandson of Raukawa) to live with a chief of Ngāti Maru. When Wairangi came with a few men to take her back, she warned him that Ngāti Maru were planning to massacre them. Her much-quoted question means, ‘Why did you come with such a small number of warriors, instead of remaining among your own powerful tribe?’
Ngāti Maniapoto people are dispersed throughout the country and beyond its shores. Like other tribes, they have suffered from the depopulation of traditional tribal settlements through an exodus to the larger towns and cities since the Second World War.
A cultural revival
In recent years Ngāti Maniapoto have experienced a renewal of interest in their language and arts. The tribe have been able to draw on the lifetime endeavours of two of their own 20th-century cultural leaders.
Pei Te Hurinui Jones assisted Apirana Ngata with the publication of Ngā mōteatea, a compilation of traditional songs. This collection remains a rich source of classical Māori language. Pei Te Hurinui Jones also published works on Maniapoto–Tainui history and genealogy.
Rangimārie Hetet developed an international reputation for her skill and knowledge in the art of weaving – this has been passed down through successive generations and shared with a wider Māori audience.
Maniapoto Māori Trust Board
In 1988 the Maniapoto Māori Trust Board was established to ‘preserve and protect the identity, integrity and interests of the Maniapoto Tribe’. 1 The board is advised on matters of cultural, historical and spiritual significance by a council of elders, Te Mauri o Maniapoto.
Every two years the tribe holds a sporting event, Te Kawau Mārō o Maniapoto Festival, in which marae compete in a variety of events. More importantly, it is an occasion for the people to return home and celebrate being Maniapoto.
On 27 September 2010, Ngāti Maniapoto signed a deed with the Crown for co-governance and co-management of the Waipa River. In 2016 the Maniapoto Maori Trust Board was preparing to settle Ngāti Maniapoto’s historic Treaty claims on behalf of the iwi.