2022 Iwi partner

Each year, Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau hosts Matariki Festival in partnership with local mana whenua. In 2022, we once again partner with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei as the festivals iwi partners.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are pleased to take on the mantle as iwi manaaki for this year, at a very significant time for our people.

DOWNLOAD the Umu Kohukohu Whetū booklet.

Dawn Karakia 2021

Hikaia ngā ahi o Matariki 
Hikaia nga ahi o Te Kahu Tōpuni o Tuperiri  

Light the ceremonial fires of Matariki 
Light the ceremonial fires of our lands 

Ko te ahi tērā he mea tiki e Māui i tana tupuna i a Māhuika. Ka 
māmingatia a Māhuika e Māui tata pau te ahi. Ka riri a Māhuika ka 
pangaa e ia tana maikuku mutunga ki te whenua kia toro ai, hei 
mea patu i a Māui. Ka whakamanu a Māui, kāhore i mau. Ko te 
mōrehu o te ahi ka mau ki roto ki ētahi o ngā rākau o te ngahere. 
Ka tīkina atu aua rākau nā e ngā uri hei hika i te ahi. 

He mea nui te ahi. Ko te ahi hei tao i te kai. Ko te ahi hei 
whakamahana i te tangata. Ko te ahi hei rama i te pō. Ko te ahi hei 
āwhina i te tangata i āna mahi o ia rā, o ia rā. Ka kitea te paoa o 
ngā ahi o ngā pā kāinga i te awatea, ka kitea te mura o ngā ahi o 
ngā pā kāinga i te pō, ka mōhiotia he tangata kei reira e noho ana. 
Ko te ahi kā tēnei. E kā ana te whenua, e kā ana te tangata. He 
tohu ora. 

Ko tēnei mea te ahikāroa, ko tō noho mau roa ki ō whenua. Ko tō 
whakatupu kai ki ō whenua. Ko tō tao kai ki ō whenua. Ko tō 
whakatū whare ki ō whenua. Ko tō whakatupu tamariki, whakatupu 
mokopuna ki ō whenua. Ko tō tanu tūpāpaku ki ō whenua. 

Ko te ahikāroa o Ngāti Whātua ki runga o Tāmaki kei te ita, 
kei te pūmau. Kāhore anō kia weto mai anō i te wā i te raupatu a 
Tuperiri ā-mohoa nei, kei te haere tonu, ā, ka haere tonu.  

Māui obtained fire from his grandmother Mahuika. Through his trickery, fire was almost lost to mankind. Enraged, Mahuika hurled her last fiery fingernail at the earth, towards her grandson. Māui transformed himself into a bird and escaped her fury. The last flickering flame smouldered in the forest trees. This is how man came to possess fire. By taking the trees to kindle new flames. 

The power of fire is recognised and sacred. Fire is associated with cooking food, warming homes and lighting our way at night. Ahi is used to help in everyday life activities. During the day, smouldering smoke rises from our villages. And at night, the amber glow of campfire is a sure signal of life within the village. This is ahi kā - the fires of occupation. The land is alight with life and people. A sign of well-being. 

Ahikāroa refers to the long burning fires of occupation. An enduring relationship with the land across many centuries. Where people cultivate gardens, cook food, and build homes. Where people raise their children and grandchildren on the same lands. Where loved ones are ultimately laid to rest. 

Ngāti Whātua have maintained ahikāroa in Tāmaki for more than three centuries. The long burning fires of occupation are alight and steadfast. Since the time of Tuperiri, they have not flickered and continue to burn bright.

Iwi Stories

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei: Iwi

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei is one of the hapū from the wider Ngāti Whātua iwi which extends from Maunganui in the north to Tāmaki in the south. They have approximately 6,000 hapū members throughout Aotearoa and around the world. Located in and around the Tāmaki isthmus, in the largest city in Aotearoa, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei hold firm to their history, culture, identity and language.   

Occupation by Ngāti Whātua ki Tāmaki of Tāmaki Makaurau began in the mid 18th Century under the leadership of the Rangatira (leader) and common ancestor Tuperiri. As such, every member of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei can trace their whakapapa to Tuperiri and are descended from the 3 hapū (sub-tribes): Te Taoū, Ngāoho, and Te Uringutu, collectively referred to today as Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are the tangata whenua of central Tāmaki with their mana over the land and sea being underpinned by take tupuna (ancestral relationships), take raupatu (taking of the land and sea by traditional warfare), ahi kā (unbroken occupation) and tuku whenua (traditional gifting of land)

The Ngāti Whātua rohe is unique in its positioning, situated on the central Auckland Isthmus between the Manukau, Waitematā and Kaipara Harbours, and bordered by the Waitākere and Hunua ranges that serve as Auckland’s watersheds. Within the rohe of Ngāti Whātua is the landing place of their ancestral waka in the Kaipara, the largest harbour in the Southern Hemisphere.   

Umukohukohu Whetū

Umukohukohu Whetū Image

Click here to download the Umukohukohu Whetū booklet.

From the Far North

The tūpuna (ancestors) of Ngāti Whātua came across the ocean from Wairotī and Wairotā. Under the primary command of Rongomai, the waka hourua (double canoe) Māhuhu-ki-te-Rangi travelled from the islands and made landfall in Aotearoa. They landed in Muriwhenua (the Far North), but over time they travelled south to settle in Tāmaki Makaurau.

As the Ngāti Whātua people journeyed south they fought a number of battles, from Maunganui to the base of the Tangihua Ranges. From Tangihua they navigated the Wairoa River and took possession of the Kaipara Harbour and surrounding lands by raupatu (conquest).

Around 1750, the Te Taoū people of South Kaipara occupied the Tāmaki Isthmus. After this time and up until the present, the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei people – initially led by Tuperiri – have maintained their ahi kā and tūrangawaewae.

Their whenua rangatira included the Ōkahu Bay village, where the ancestral house Te Puru o Tāmaki stood, as well as the Takaparawhau ridge where the Ōrākei Marae now stands.

Chiefly Authority

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei rangatira Apihai Te Kawau and Paora Tūhaere led their people through many challenges, always striving to secure a sustainable future for their hapū. They were strategic and resilient leaders.  
Te Kawau and his people established settlements at Karangahape, then Māngere and Onehunga. Between 1836 and 1838, gardens were re-established at Te Rehu (Cox’s Bay), Horotiu (Queen Street), Maunga Rāhiri (Little Rangitoto, Remuera) and Ōkahu Bay. 
News of Lieutenant-Governor Wiliam Hobson’s arrival in the Bay of Islands prompted a large gathering of high chiefs from the Kaipara, Waitematā and surrounding areas to talk about attaining peace. At a crucial stage of the hui, Tītai, a highly regarded Te Taoū tohunga (translation), rose to speak and told of a dream he experienced. He shared the prophetic words in a traditional chant. 
He aha te hau e wawara, e wawara? 
He tiu, he raki, he tiu, he raki 
Nāna i ā mai te pūpūtarakihi ki uta 
E tīkina e au te kotiu 
Koia te pou whakairo ka tū ki Waitematā 
I ōku wairangitanga 
What was the wind that is roaring and rumbling? 
It was a wind in the north (the Treaty at Waitangi) 
A wind that exposed the nautilus shell (symbolising the unfolding of a new order) 
And in my dreams, I saw that 
I would fetch the 'wind' from the north 
To establish them myself (pou whakairo) at Waitematā 
After hearing this, the gathering sent a delegation led by Te Kawau's nephew, Te Rēweti, to the Bay of Islands. They offered Hobson a gift of land to establish his new capital (Auckland City) alongside Te Kawau's people on the shores of the pristine, obsidian-like waters of the Waitematā.