Local Iwi Stories

Tōtaranui Trust 250

Pepeha is a way of introducing yourself in Māori. It tells people who you are by sharing your connections with the people and places that are important to you.

New tauihu sculpture acknowledges Blenheim’s Māori history

A new tauihu sculpture is the first of its kind in Blenheim. The town's new feature acknowledges traditional narratives about the Rangitāne o Wairau people.

Nga Tapuae-o-Kupe

The sacred footsteps of Kupe. This short video explores the area surrounding Te Pokohiwi-a-Kupe (Moa Hunter Site) using an aerial drone. Using this tool we are able to identify prominent landmarks within the vicinity.

Rangitane o Wairau

Rangitāne have resided in the northern South Island for many generations since the arrival of their tupuna Te Huataki in the sixteenth century.Rangitāne have close whakapapa connections with other Kurahaupo iwi - Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō and Ngāti Kuia.Rangitāne established themselves as tangata whenua through conquest, intermarriage and assimilation with the tribes they found residing in the district.The maunga and awa in the region are the source of stories and whakatauki and in some cases embody their tupuna.


The name ‘Ngā Pakiaka Mōrehu o te whenua’ is a metaphor for the people of the land, whose roots, like the indigenous forest are still firmly embedded in the soil. The primary goal of this project is to promote the unique status of Ahi Kaa who are the repositories of tribal history and knowledge of the ancestral lands within their Iwi .Our project also seeks to ensure that the customary knowledge, traditions and values held by the existing Ahi Kaa are preserved and passed on to future generations.Ultimately we aim to provide a setting in which people from all the hapu of the Wairau would feel at ease. We believe this is an appropriate way forward in a post-settlement environment.
Master carver appointed for New Ōpaoa River Bridge gateway
Award-winning Spring Creek master carver Reg Thompsett has been commissioned to carve the new pou whenua that will grace the northern entrance to Wairau (Blenheim), when the New Ōpaoa River Bridge opens in mid-2020.
Reg is well known for his skill and passion for carving — he trained at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua as a young man. Beautiful examples of his work can be found at the Wairau Hospital chapel, Meretoto (Ship Cove) and the whare nui Te Aroha O Te Waipounamu at Omaka Marae.
Reg has chosen a large Matai log sourced locally as his raw material. Mana whenua iwi — Rangitāne, Ngāti Rārua and Ngāti Toa — are working with the New Zealand Transport Agency and Marlborough District Council on the gateway and landscaping alongside the New Ōpaoa River Bridge.
Bilingual Māori focus school opens in Marlborough
It was a momentous day in the Wairau today with the opening of the first bilingual Māori focus school in Marlborough. Based at Ōmaka Marae in Blenheim, local iwi say it's the beginning of a new chapter for their people.

Kupe and Cook in the Marlborough Sounds

In Māori tradition, the drowned river valleys of the Marlborough Sounds were explored by the legendary Polynesian navigator Kupe in his pursuit of a giant octopus. Many place names in the area relate to Kupe. British navigator James Cook also explored the Sounds, resting and reprovisioning his crew at Ship Cove. Whaling stations were later established.

Trouble at Tuamarina - Roadside Stories

Today a sleepy settlement between Picton and Blenheim, Tuamarina was the site of bloody conflict in June 1843. The New Zealand Company believed they had bought the Wairau plains -- but Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha considered that the area had not been purchased. He evicted surveyors from the Wairau, and when a party of settlers arrived to arrest him, conflict broke out.