Cultural Mapping

Kā Huru Manu

Kā Huru Manu, The Ngāi Tahu Cultural Mapping Project, uses the latest Geographical Information System (GIS) technology to record and map our Ngāi Tahu stories and place names onto a virtual landscape for future generations.

The online, digital Ngāi Tahu Atlas – – includes over 1,000 traditional Māori place names that have been fully referenced from whānau manuscripts, published books, 19th century maps, newspaper articles, and a vast array of unpublished material. The atlas also includes information about ara tawhito (traditional travel routes), Native Reserves and other original Māori land allocations such as the SINA and half-cast crown grants. The website tells the story behind the project and celebrates the people who have been involved.

Administered by the Ngāi Tahu Archive Team alongside the 18 Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnaka, Kā Huru Manu is part of the broader work of the Ngāi Tahu Archive Team to gather Ngāi Tahu knowledge and make it more available to Ngāi Tahu whānui.

“We are integrating this knowledge with a burgeoning and sophisticated Ngāi Tahu archive system,” says Tā Tipene O’Regan, Chair of Te Pae Kōrako (The Ngāi Tahu Archive Advisory Committee). “As well, we are intent on repatriating Ngāi Tahu knowledge of Te Waipounamu from the records systems and databases of the academic and official worlds and their respective libraries and archives.”

Trevor Howse was one of the key researchers during the Ngāi Tahu Claim period, and his work and expertise help guided Kā Huru Manu. “In the timeframe of the Claim, we didn’t have enough time to use all the information we gathered. We certainly didn’t have the technology that is now available to us,” says Trevor. “It is just wonderful to see the work that we are producing, and I can only imagine what we will be able to do in the future with the way technology is progressing.”

“Ultimately we will be judged by our peers at the marae,” says Trevor. This mahi will empower our people. I have waited a long time to see this happen.”

For any enquiries regarding Kā Huru Manu, email