Unlike Te Ika-a-Māui, Te Wai Pounamu has few iwi. Both Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Māmoe are the dominant iwi of most of Te Wai Pounamu, occupying most of the length of both the east and west coast. These two tribes have intermarried so that most Ngāi Tahu also have strong whakapapa lines to Ngāti Māmoe ancestors. The other iwi such as Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Apa, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Kuia, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Rārua, Rangitāne and Ngāti Tū-mata-kōkiri occupy parts of the northern region of Te Wai Pounamu.
Kei wareware i a koe ngā piko, ngā tohu pātai, ngā ira kati me ngā tohutō i ngā wāhi e tika ana.