As the indigenous people of Aotearoa, Maaori are our city’s founders. It’s part of what makes us New Zealanders, and Hamiltonians. Acknowledging this grounds us for how we can grow and mature as a city and understand the value placed on the partnerships between Council and Maaori.

The Hamilton Kirikiriroa area has a history of 700-800 years of Maaori occupation and settlement. The site of Hamilton was originally known as Kirikiriroa. It was a large paa located on the western side of the Waikato River.

Between the 1400s and up until the invasions of the 1860s, several hapuu of Tainui ancestry settled and occupied the area we know today as Hamilton Kirikiriroa. Many paa (settlements) and mara (gardens) featured along the Waikato River which acted as the main transport corridor to Auckland. Today, Ngaati Maahanga, Ngaati Tamainupo, Ngaati Wairere, Ngaati Korokii Kahukura and Ngaati Hauaa are regarded as the mana whenua of Hamilton Kirikiriroa.

Our Maaori population makes up 23.7% (in 2018) of people who live in Hamilton Kirikiriroa, up from 10% of our city’s total in 1976. And the number of people who identify as Maaori is still on the rise, with it projected to reach 30% in 2030.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Council is committed to honouring the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Treaty of Waitangi through its relationship with Kiingitanga, Waikato-Tainui, mana whenua and maataa waka within Hamilton Kirikiriroa.

The principles of partnership, participation, and protection underpin the relationship between the government and Maaori under Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi.

1. Partnership

Partnership involves working together with iwi, hapuu, maataa waka (Maaori who live in Hamilton, but whose traditional rohe is elsewhere) and Maaori communities reasonably and with good faith on major areas of common interest.

2. Participation

Participation encourages and requires Maaori to be involved at all levels of government, including in the decision-making, planning, development, and delivery of services.

3. Protection

Protection involves the Government working to ensure Maaori have the same level of opportunity and access to services as non-Maaori, and safeguarding Maaori cultural concepts, values and practices.

Partnership with iwi and tangata whenua

Our iwi and tangata whenua partnerships deliver cultural, environmental, social and economic outcomes that benefit not just Maaori, but all Hamiltonians.

Hamilton City Council currently has the following arrangements to support Maaori representation and participation in decision-making:

Waikato-Tainui/Hamilton City Council Co-Governance Forum

The Co-governance Forum supports Waikato-Tainui and Council to build a strong and mutually beneficial relationship, provide opportunities for collaboration that promote better wellbeing outcomes through agreed projects, and meet obligations to restore and protect the Waikato River.

Learn about our partnership with Waikato-Tainui to protect the Waikato River  

Read Waikato-Tainui’s strategic plan, Whakatupuranga 2050, here

Te Haa o te Whenua o Kirikiriroa (THaWK)

A collective mandated to protect the views and interests of their respective hapuu (Ngaati Maahanga, Ngaati Tamainupoo, Ngaati Korokii Kahukura and Ngaati Hauaa) which have traditional connections to the land and waterways within Hamilton Kirikiriroa. Council’s partnership with THaWK gives mana whenua input into decision making relating to the management of Hamilton’s natural and physical resources.

Ngaati Wairere

Ngaati Wairere also have traditional connections to the land and waterways within Hamilton Kirikiriroa. The hapuu were formerly a part of THaWK but have since chosen to represent their own views independently and continue to have input into decision making relating to the management of Hamilton’s natural and physical resources.

Te Rūnanga Ō Kirikiriroa (TROK)

Formally established in 1988 and under the direction of the late Maaori Queen, Te Atairangikaahu, and the Mayor of the time, the late Sir Ross Jansen, TeROK represents maataa waka and Pasifika peoples living in Hamilton Kirikiriroa. TeROK provides information and advice and represent the views of maataa waka in the development of Council strategies, policies and plans.

Maangai Maaori

In 2018, Council pioneered the Maangai Maaori model (meaning ‘voice of Maaori’) to represent iwi and maataa waka on Council committees. Maangai Maaori are nominated by iwi and maataa waka organisations based on skill, knowledge and experience and provide a valuable role representing the views of key Maaori partners and stakeholders. Maangai Maaori have speaking and voting rights at their respective committees but do not sit on full Council.

Under the signed kawenata (agreement) with Council, Waikato-Tainui and Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa are seeking through Maangai Maaori to ensure: ‘He painga moo ngaa miro katoa I raro I te mana o te kaihanga – All peoples are valued, respected and flourish under the authority of the creator’.

Jaydene Kana, Norm Hill and Olly Te Ua have been confirmed as Maangai Maaori for the 2022-25 triennium.

He Pou Manawa Ora

Pillars of Wellbeing

He Pou Manawa Ora - Pillars of Wellbeing is a strategy which outlines Hamilton City Council’s vision for a city that celebrates its whole history, including its unique Maaori heritage, and ensures everyone has a voice in developing its future. It places Maaori as key partners in determining Hamilton’s future.

Developed in consultation with Waikato-Tainui, Te Rūnanga Ō Kirikiriroa (TROK) and mana whenua, this strategy discusses how Council will use the pillars of History, Unity, Prosperity and Restoration to build a  proud and inclusive city for the wellbeing of all its people and outlines a vision for a city that celebrates its whole history, including its unique Maaori heritage.

Related information


Related pages


Meet our external appointees to Council committees.

Our partnership with Waikato-Tainui

Learn about our partnership with Waikato-Tainui to protect the Waikato River.

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Last updated 25 July 2022