Our Stories

Marae Kitchen to Tribunal Hearing – Our Settlement Journey

The death of Riki Te Mairaki Ellison (Uncle Riki) in 1984 was a watershed moment for many Ngāi Tahu. It started a torrent of Ngāi Tahu deaths, as he gathered his large ope to accompany him on his journey ki tua o te ārai. This ope included my grandmother Kui Kamo (née Whaitiri), who had been his kaikaranga at Rehua Marae in life, and would now become his kaikaranga in death. I recall Aunty Rima Bell at Tuahiwi saying the deaths would only stop when a baby joined the ope – and that appears to have been what happened. Many kaumātua at the time also stated the deaths were the first of many payments that Ngāi Tahu would be forced to make as the long journey to justice for its treaty claims neared an end.

Read More


The Right Stone

Mauri Tau Mauri Ora is the 270 kilogram pounamu kōhatu that sits on a Carrara marble plinth at the entrance to Oi Manawa, the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. Gifted by Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio, it marks a place for those affected by the Christchurch earthquakes to reflect and remember the people and places they have lost. It signposts a memorial to whenua, whānau, and memories.
For carver Fayne Robinson (Ngāi Tahu – Ngāti Māhaki, Ngāti Waewae; Ngāti Apa ki te Ra To – Puahaterangi), it is also a metaphor of sorts for the before and after of Christchurch city. Its rough crust, he says, resembles rubble; and the “little windows of potential”, showing in places, reflect where we are heading with the city rebuild.

Read More


Uncle Charlie
A Man for his People

It is unlikely that you can have a discussion about the Ngāi Tahu Settlement without hearing stories about Charles Crofts (Ngāti Huakai, Ngāi Tūāhuriri), or as most of the iwi know him, Uncle Charlie. As Charlie tells it, it was the “luck of the draw” that he was Kaiwhakahaere of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu at the time of settlement. However, as we speak in the home he shares with his wife Meri, eating mousetraps and sipping on tea, it becomes clear that there was more than just luck at play. Charlie is a man who was always going to do great things.

Read More


Marlon

We met up outside the Lyttelton Coffee Company on a sunny Friday at high noon. A familiar space for us both, but far more so for my coffee date Marlon Williams. It takes him three stops to catch up with locals just to get to the counter. I have always found Lyttelton to be a place of warmth and welcome, because of the people who call it home – people like Marlon Williams.
From the marae to the church to the stadium, Marlon Williams is a pretty big deal these days, although he’s too humble to accept that. He is Ngāi Tahu with whakapapa connections to Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki, Moeraki and Ngāti Waewae through his mum, Jenny Rendall. Born at home on Cashel Street in Ōtautahi, and educated at Christchurch Boys’ High School and University of Canterbury, Canterbury “is always the anchor.” So why is this Marlon’s place to be?

Read More


Takutai Moana

The highest form of protection of Māori rights and interests available is “Customary Marine Title”, which recognises the relationship of an iwi, hapū, or whānau with a part of the common marine and coastal area. The title can’t be sold, and free public access, fishing, and other recreational activities are allowed to continue in Customary Marine Title areas. Successful applicant groups gain a number of rights in regards to the area…

Read More


The Good Bishop

Bishop Wallace was baptised at birth in the church at Ōnuku by a Rātana priest, and was raised at Little River by his grandparents. “The thing I remember back then is going to sleep at night listening to karakia, and waking up in the morning listening to karakia, all in the reo,” he says.

The role of Bishop of Te Waipounamu was established in 1996, and Bishop Wallace is the second to be elected, and the first of Ngāi Tahu descent. He was nominated by Canon Bella Morrell of Dunedin, and was elected in September 2016 by members of the Anglican Māori Diocese, before being ordained at Ōnuku in January 2017. For the Bishop, being ordained at the same place he was baptised was particularly special. “It is like I have done a full circle and returned for a reason,” he says as he begins to tell his story.

Read More


Te Ao o te Māori

Motoring up the shipping channel of the Whangārei Harbour, Hayden Smith suddenly slows the Sea Cleaners boat and arcs it hard right. He’s spotted something in the water. It’s a piece of plastic, which he expertly manoeuvres towards before grabbing a net to scoop it from the ocean. He’s done this a thousand times before – it’s what feeds him, drives him, and helps to give his life purpose.

Read More


Advancing bioenergy

As the largest Māori commercial forest owner in New Zealand, Ngāi Tahu Forest Estates is keen to ensure a sustainable future. It is working with Development West Coast in the hopes of establishing additional bioenergy plants there, starting with a feasibility study. Bioenergy, as the name suggests, is energy from biological sources like wood and other plant materials, and can be used as a solid, liquid, or gas. It is renewable, unlike finite fossil fuels such as coal and oil. It is the most-used renewable energy globally, ahead of hydroelectricity and wind. It has become a major industry in many European countries and there is potential for this to happen in New Zealand as well.

Read More


Maunga atua

It is a haerenga to bring Moeraki stories to life, and to ensure that those on the Moeraki paepae know what they are talking about. Sometimes the haerenga, which happens every few years, from the mountains to the sea. This time, the Moeraki rōpū is travelling from the coast to the mountains. Along the way they hear the whakapapa of the Waitaki Valley, and the importance of the Waitaki awa to Moeraki. They pass through the landscape as the kōrero comes to life. It is much more powerful this way, experiencing the kōrero among the majesty and power of the whenua, rather than listening to the stories at a wānanga.

Read More


Media

Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquake legislation

The Government today introduced the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Emergency Relief Bill and the Civil Defence Emergency Management Amendment Act 2016 Amendment Bill to Parliament. The Government has also indicated a third Bill, the Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquake Recovery Bill, will be introduced to the House on Thursday. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu welcomes the introduction of these Bills…

Read More

Whakaraupō initiative

A new initiative to restore the health of Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō was launched today. The initiative will see five major players in the management of Whakaraupō/ Lyttelton Harbour – Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, and the Lyttelton Port Company – join forces to create an action…

Read More