Tribes And Lands

Ngāti Kahungunu are New Zealand’s third largest tribal group.

Stretching down the North Island from the Māhia Peninsula to Cape Palliser,

their territory is divided into three districts: Wairoa, Heretaunga and Wairarapa.


The tribe originates from the Tākitimu canoe, sailed from Hawaiki by Tamatea Arikinui.

His son Rongokako married Muriwhenua and they had a son, the great explorer Tamatea Ure Haea.

At Kaitāia, Tamatea Ure Haea’s son Kahungunu was born.

An energetic and talented leader, Kahungunu built villages and irrigated the land.

Travelling south, he fathered many children, whose descendants eventually became known as Ngāti Kahungunu.

At Māhia, Kahungunu married high-born Rongomaiwahine, having cleverly disposed of her husband.

From this famous love match came a line of prominent figures in the tribe’s history.