About Ōrākei Marae, Auckland.
Kitemoana St, off Tamaki Drive.
The people of Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei are a hapū (sub-tribe), of the Ngāti Whātua iwi (tribe) based in New Zealand’s largest city, Tāmaki Makaurau, commonly known as Auckland.
Ōrākei Marae, sited just 10 minutes drive from downtown Auckland, is the only ancestral marae on the central Tāmaki isthmus. The whare tupuna (ancestral house) is Tumutumwhenua, named after Ngāti Whātua’s earliest ancestor.
The marae and its people have played a central role in New Zealand’s recent Treaty settlement history.
Ngāti Whātua history in Tāmaki Makaurau began in the 17th century when Te Taoū, a hapū of Ngāti Whātua led principally by Tuperiri, successfully campaigned against the area’s incumbent proprietors, Waiohua.
However, within five years of signing the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, the thousands of acres previously occupied by Ngāti Whātua had been reduced to only 700 acres at Ōrākei.
As a result of Government policy, decades of displacement and loss followed for hapū members who were evicted from their homes and marae buildings burnt.
However, an announcement in 1976 by the National Party, led by Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, that uncommitted land at Bastion Point would be taken for high income housing and parks marked a turning point in the country’s history when some Ngāti Whātua occupied Bastion Point in January 1977.
The following 506 days of non-violent occupation and protest ended on 25 May 1978 when 222 protesters were arrested and the temporary meeting house, buildings, and gardens they had established were demolished.
However, subsequent demands for the return of Ngāti Whātua land was the catalyst for the formation of the current Waitangi Tribunal, as well as Treaty settlements for iwi throughout New Zealand.
In 1991 the marae was returned to Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei, which now controls a property asset base worth in the range of $400 million, with only $3 million derived from Treaty settlement.
Today, the collective affairs of the sub-tribe are overseen by the Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei Māori Trust Board, and Ngāti Whātua continues to take a strong role in Auckland with connections throughout business, local and central government and all areas of the community.
Note: Central to Māori culture and community activities, marae are dedicated buildings representing the genealogy and stories of local iwi or people. Marae provide a meeting place for Māori communities for celebrations, bereavements, learning forums (wānanga) and meetings (hui).