Kā Huru Manu

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Kā Huru Manu provides a Ngāi Tahu perspective on the South Island through an interactive cultural map. It is a site dedicated to fostering cultural revitalisation and recording the historical data held deep within Ngāi Tahu heritage.

"Kā Huru Manu - The Ngāi Tahu Cultural Mapping Project is dedicated to recording and mapping the traditional Māori place names and associated histories in the Ngāi Tahu rohe (tribal area). Place names are tangible reminders of our history and values. They represent a significant symbol of the Ngāi Tahu historical association and relationship with our landscape. They are primarily associated with people, historical events, geographical features, and natural flora and fauna. Ngāi Tahu has collected thousands of place names to make this traditional knowledge accessible to our whānau and the wider public."

The project started in 2012 and was launched late 2017. More than 1,000 original Māori place names, kā ara tawhito (traditional travel routes), and the original Māori land allocations in the Ngāi Tahu takiwā have been mapped. Rivers, mountains, lakes, pā and trails that Ngāi Tahu used have all been included in the mapping. Information has been gathered from whānau manuscripts, published books, 19th century maps, newspaper articles and a vast array of unpublished material.

There is a book in conjunction with the online database, and both tools aim to collect and restore the iwi's cultural information. A place that can hold the past heritage of Ngāi Tahu, as well as a log book to record what happens in the future-an evolving database.

You can read the story of Ngāi Tahu, which has mention of the Waipapa pā at the mouth of the Waiautoa (Clarence River) on Kaikōura's coastline. 

"Te Taumanu-o-Te-Waka-a-Māui is the traditional Māori name for the Kaikōura Peninsula. The name refers to the well-known Māori navigator Māui, who braced his foot on the peninsula when he pulled up Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island)."

http://www.kahurumanu.co.nz/atlasThe opportunity to map Ngāi Tahu heritage in an interactive way came about from the Tenure Review process, as they were required to provide historical information in the campaign to set aside land at Mauhaea as a Conservation Area. It further motivated and encouraged the recording of a larger area for Ngāi Tahu.

The rest of the South Island was eventually mapped and recorded, with on-site hui providing the opportunity for stories to not only be recorded, but also written/made. The idea of cultural mapping and recording of Ngāi Tahu place names and histories spread - people were holding conversations between whānau and at marae throughout the South Island.

The website allows users the opportunity to discover traditional travel routes of early Ngāi Tahu, the kāika mahika kai (food-gathering sites) and the road to taking control of the pounamu trade of Te Tai Poutini.

Biographies of the people who campaigned and openly shared their time and knowledge to produce such a large and comprehensive resource of Ngāi Tahu cultural history are featured within the site. Trevor Hapi Howse is featured, who was born here in Kaikōura. He was known as 'The Weka' for his skill in being able to unearth information about Ngāi Tahu's land and bring it together to form complete stories and histories.


"So we go back to the land, the whenua, and we put the names in place because that's where the history is. Academia has given us one part of history. We have a responsibility to take that other piece and put it together."

-Trevor Howse 

Kā Huru Manu provides a place for the cultural heritage of not only Ngāi Tahu, but for the whole South Island, and also for New Zealand to reside. It allows users to view the places they are fond of in Te Waipounamu, taking each viewer on a cultural journey. Take your own individual journey through Ngāi Tahu history here...

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Last updated: 16 May 2018