Story: Ngāti Tūwharetoa

Page 6. Ngāti Tūwharetoa today

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Ngāti Tūwharetoa Trust Board

On 15 November 1926, the first members of the board were appointed. They were:

  • Hoani Te Heuheu (chair, Waihī)
  • Pau Mariu (Waihī)
  • Kahu Te Kuru (Kākahi)
  • Paora Rokino (Taupō)
  • Pitiroi Mohi (Taupō)
  • Tāite Te Tomo (Halcombe)
  • Takinga Arthur Grace (Taupō)
  • Werihe Te Tuiri (Waihī)
  • Pūataata Alfred Grace (secretary, Waihī).

The first meeting was held at Tokaanu on 24 November 1926. These men were visionaries who set the guidelines for future trust boards to invest wisely for the tribe. In the 2000s, board members were descendants of those early representatives.

The board advised Ngāti Tūwharetoa on taking stock of its resources, both land and people, and planning a future based on economic and social principles. This was not easy, given their relative isolation and distance from markets. As part of its long-term strategy, the board set up trusts to support forestry investments, and continues to support the people through education grants.

Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau (Bay of Plenty)

When the sons of the ancestor Tūwharetoa moved from Kawerau to the Lake Taupō region, those who remained behind held fast to their ancestral name, which the two groups now shared. Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau and Tūwharetoa ki te Maunga (Tongariro mountain) have, for geographic and other reasons, developed separately as important tribal entities.

Paramount chief

In 2003 the paramount chief of Ngāti Tūwharetoa was Tumu Te Heuheu. He is the eldest son of Sir Hepi Te Heuheu, who advocated that Māori control their own issues. Because of the respect in which he was held, Sir Hepi was able to call national meetings of Māori people.

As one of the more prominent Māori leaders, Tumu Te Heuheu continues the work of his father with his people and at a national level, and is embarking on new challenges in the field of world heritage.

On 6 June 2003 Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau (Bay of Plenty) signed a Deed of Settlement of its historic treaty claims. Valued at $10.5 million, the settlement included the right to purchase 844 hectares of Rotoehu Crown forest land, and a right of first refusal over geothermal assets. The iwi’s right to access traditional food sources within part of the Matatā Wildlife Refuge Reserve was restored.

In 2016, Ngāti Tūwharetoa was preparing to settle the historic treaty claims of the rest of the iwi.

How to cite this page:

Martin Wikaira, 'Ngāti Tūwharetoa - Ngāti Tūwharetoa today', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/ngati-tuwharetoa/page-6 (accessed 17 October 2019)

Story by Martin Wikaira, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Mar 2017