Exercise Five

Tribal names

Ngā iwi
Tribal names

North Island Tribe Names

Nō tēhea iwi koe? Ko wai tō iwi?
Finding out someone’s tribal affiliations.

When establishing a person's kinship relationship, finding out their tribal affiliations is often involved. This involves finding which iwi (tribe) and possibly which hapū (subtribe) they belong to. Each tribal group has their own territory, so by finding out which tribe someone belongs, you will be given a rough idea of where they are from. This is why it is important to know the various tribes and their territories. The tribal areas are as shown on the map. The map shows Northern tribal groups only. It is important to note that Te Arawa is actually a confederation of eight tribes, while the tribes of the Waikato Valley are often grouped together and called Waikato.

You will notice that many of the tribal (and subtribe) names begin with Ngāti e.g. Ngāti Whātua. Ngāi is also often used, especially before some names that begin with ‘T’, e.g. Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāi Tahu. Most tribes and subtribes have been named after the ancestor who founded the tribe and all members of that tribe will be his or her descendants. For example, Ngāti Maniapoto was founded by Maniapoto.

For further explanations: Te Kākano p. 43.

Whiriwhirihia te kupu tika hei whakakī i ia āputa.
Choose the correct word to fill the gap.

Whiriwhirihia te iwi tika.

Choose the correct tribal name to fill the gap. Click on the line to view the options of tribal names. View the map to help you distinguish which tribe belongs to which territory.

Pātai atu ki ngā tāngata o Te Whanake nō hea rātou.
Te Whanake character will appear. Your task is to ask which tribe they are from.

Don’t forget to use commas, question marks, and fullstops and macrons where appropriate (ā,ē,ī,ō, and ū).


tō iwi?

What is your tribe?

iwi koe?

Which tribe are you from?

Nō Ngāi Tahu


I am from Ngāi Tahu.

Nō Ngāti


I am from Ngāti Porou



Tribe from the East Coast


Northern tribe near the Bay of Islands.



Tribe around Lake Taupo.

Main tribe of Rotorua area.


Most northern tribe.

Tribe from the South Kaipara to Auckland area.

Miria right


Wiremu right


Te hereripene right

[Te Hererīpene]

Neihana right


Tarati right


Eruera right