TUKU WHENUA

Honouring the tuku whenua of Apihai Te Kawau and his people on 18th September 1840, the founding of Tāmaki Makaurau.



In 1840 at a major hui near Ōkahu Bay, a group of Ngāti Whātua leaders were brought together by the paramount chief Apihai Te Kawau to discuss the future of the iwi. 

During the meeting, a matakite (seer) known as Tītai received a vision that a time of exchange was fast approaching. This vision became the catalyst for a series of events that would establish a passage of transformative change for Ngāti Whātua, and Tāmaki Makaurau.

Following the hui, Apihai invited Governor Hobson to move his Government to the shores of the Waitematā. On 18 September 1840, Apihai formally allocated 3000 acres of land to Governor Hobson, to establish a township for settlers and a new capital. The boundary formed a triangle from the summit of Maungawhau, reaching out to Taurarua Parnell in the east, and Ōpou in the north-west.  

The invitation was premised on the notion of tuku whenua, a gifting of land for a designated purpose, with an undefined timeframe, but with the intention of eventual return.

With great foresight, Apihai saw the tuku whenua as a powerful means to strengthen relationships and foster prosperity. It carried inherent responsibilities that connected Ngāti Whātua and the Crown in a binding partnership of mutual benefit, and obligation. 

This is the untold story of Tāmaki Makaurau, a universal story of connection, consideration, and integrity. It is our shared history, but it is ever-present, embedded in this land and its people.

It is a story of manaakitanga in its many forms: ‘mana-a-ki’ (the power of language), ‘mana-aki-aki’ (the integrity of conviction), and ‘mana-ki-te tangata’ (a selfless care for people). 

Together we celebrate the origins of our nation’s largest city, and the enduring legacy of manaakitanga that is sustained by the uri (descendants) of Tuperiri (grandfather of Apihai).