Arriving in New Zealand over a thousand years ago on the shores of the Hokianga, Kupe and his people had traveled thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean on his waka (canoe) Matawhaorua in pursuit of an octopus that led him to land.
After spending some time in New Zealand, Kupe returned to his homeland Hawaiki with the words “Ka hoki nei au, e kore au e hokianga-nui mai” (I now depart and I shall never return).
On his return to Hawaiki, his waka Matawhaorua was re-adzed and named Ngatokimatawhaorua (nga toki means the adzes). Nukutawhiti captained the waka on its return voyage to Aotearoa (New Zealand) where they anchored and settled in Hokianga.
Today, many iwi trace their ancestry back to Kupe and some of the oldest traces of Māori settlement, or kainga, can be found in Northland.
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds
The region has a rich history that ties both Māori and non-Māori people together.
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands is the place where the historic signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (between Māori and the British Crown) took place in 1840.
This is the beginning of modern life and partnership we know now.