Library Subject Guides

Māori Cultural Education: Iwi history in the South Island



Search across a range of Library resources, including

Other South Island Maori

The Prow  "aims to celebrate, preserve and makes accessible the history, culture and stories of the top of the South Island of New Zealand - Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman.  The name has been chosen because the region from Farewell Spit to Marlborough’s East Coast, has long been known by local iwi as “te tau ihu o te waka a Maui”, or the prow of Maui’s waka, from which he ‘fished’ up the North Island".

Te Reo Maori Online

Te Whanake online Te Reo Resources

Kotahi Mano Kaika Ngāi Tahu Te Reo Māori website

Korero Maori website to support learners of Te Reo (all levels)

Online Dictionaries

He Pātaka Kupu A comprehensive Te Reo Māori-only dictionary from the Māori Language Commission.

Ngata Dictionary This online edition contains Māori-English as well as English-Māori translations.

Te Aka Online dictionary from the Te Whanake series.

A Dictionary of the Māori Language/ Williams. Provided by the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre.

Other Online Reo Resources

He Pātaka Kupu Ture : The Legal Māori Archive Documents describing, debating, using and critiquing Western legal ideas in te reo Māori. Includes petitions, letters, deeds, Acts, tribunal documents, Kōtahitanga Parliamentary proceedings and more

Te Hapori Mātauranga Māori (TKI) Not a dictionary, but a good resource for Māori Education on Te Kete Ipurangi

Maori/Ngāi Tahu Resources

In the Central Library on level 4, we have a Kohikohika Māori, or Māori Collection. This includes some resources on Ngāi Tahu history and culture. The Macmillan Brown has an extensive range of Ngāi Tahu books also, some are lending copies, and others are only to be used in the library.

When searching the catalogue for Ngai Tahu history resources, use the subject keywords Ngai Tahu (Maori People) and History

Ngāi Tahu Web Links

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu official website

Ngāi Tahu on Te Ara website

Tī Kouka Whenua an excellent website about local Ngai Tahu history and sites of significance, including oral history interviews. Produced by Christchurch City Libraries.

South Island Maori Myths and Legends page on Christchurch City Libraries website

Mana Whenua concepts relating to Ngai Tahu (from Ngai Tahu's website) explains the traditional practice of topuni, significance of placenames etc.

Kotahi Mano Kaika website for resources, and other local language revitalization information


Matariki interview - Christchurch City Libraries' resource about Matariki. It is based on an interview with local elder, Rakiihia Tau.

He kōrero nō Ngāi Tahu

These pepeha were published on "Pepeha across the city" postcards during a Christchurch Arts Festival.

E, ko te Hau Kaitakata e aumou te whai, te mutu ai e.
Oh, the Nor'Wester persistent in its pursuit, will not relent.

Kāi Tahu's persistence in pursuing their rights is likened to the NorWester that devours those in its path.
(nā Hana O'Regan)

E rite ana mātou ki te Kauwau e noho ana i runga i te toka
Ka pari te tai, ka ngaro te kōhatu, ka rere te manu.

We are the same as a shag perched on an ocean rock; the tide encroaches, the stone disappears and the bird must fly away.

1860 Hoani Paratene to Gov Gore Browne. " Please listen carefully to our words, to our grievances and illnesses as you are the doctor that must remedy them. We have no houses, no land, no market to sell our wares."

Ka Pākihi Whakatekateka a Waitaha
The plains where Waitaha strutted proudly.

This is used to link Kāi Tahu with their earlier Waitaha ancestors.

Ko Kuratawhiti te mauka kākāpō. Ko ahau te takata.
Kuratawhiti is the mountain home of the kākāpō. I am the man who lays claim to it.

Moki and a party of relatives were searching the inland areas and claiming hills and resources as their own. In this, Moki was claiming the peaks and resources of Kuratawhiti, which included Kākāpō hunting grounds to make a kilt for his daughter.

There are more pepeha on Christchurch City Libraries' website.

Contact us for help

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Waitangi Teepa
Te Puna Rakahau o Macmillan Brown
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Phone: 03 369 4533 (internal ext 94533)