Whakapapa Registration

Whakapapa sits within Governance and Membership Services. It is responsible for:

  • Managing the tribal register and the registration process;
  • Maintaining and preserving of the 1848 Whakapapa files;
  • Providing advice and services and research pertaining to Whakapapa related matters; and,
  • Undertaking whakapapa based projects to enhance Rūnanga affiliation and communication processes.

Online Registration


Addition to the 1848 Kaumātua Blue Book listing

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu confirm that by a resolution at their Te Rūnanga meeting on 17 September 2011 Rīwai Piharo and Pakawera were added to the list of 1848 Kaumātua contained in the “Blue Book”.

This means that the descendants of Rīwai Piharo and Pakawera can now register as a member of Ngāi Tahu Whānui.

If you wish to view the notice confirming the resolution, please view Application for Rīwai Piharo and Pakawera to be added to the Blue Book »

Please note: To register with Whakapapa you will need a valid birth certificate. Visit the Department of Internal Affairs for information about how to get a birth certificate.

The management of the tribal registration process is based on systems dating back to the 1870s and 1890s when tohunga recorded Ngāi Tahu whakapapa and traditions to progress the various tribal claims. By the 1920s however, little progress had been made. Some of those claims were 80 years old and had been subjected to numerous political and legal processes of the Crown.


In 1925 and again in 1929 the Native Land Court sat at Tuahiwi and other locations to identify the potential beneficiaries of claims relating to inadequate reserves made in 1848 and the early 1850s. Wereta Tainui Pitama was the inaugural chairman of the Ngāi Tahu Census Committee elected to guide the court in the identification process. This work necessitated Pitama and others compiling a body of whakapapa establishing the descendants of those who had lived within the original purchase area. Both the 1925 and 1929 Census Committees drew on whakapapa recorded in the 1870s and 1880s.

The work of the Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Māmoe Census Committee set the foundation for the modern day Ngāi Tahu Whakapapa record and registration process. The records generated by that Committee were organised and stored in a series of numerical files. The files were ordered around individual and or groups of related 1848 kaumātua.

Initially the Māori Land Court retained these files, but in 1966 agreement was reached between the Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board and the Minister of Māori Affairs that the original whakapapa record and files would be returned to its care.