Introducing 'Tangata Whenua'

Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History charts the sweep of Māori history from ancient origins through to the twenty-first century. Through narrative and images, it offers a striking overview of the past, grounded in specific localities and histories.

The story begins with the migration of ancestral peoples out of South China, some 5,000 years ago. Moving through the Pacific, these early voyagers arrived in Aotearoa early in the second millennium AD, establishing themselves as tangata whenua in the place that would become New Zealand. By the nineteenth century, another wave of settlers brought new technology, ideas and trading opportunities – and a struggle for control of the land. Survival and resilience shape the history as it extends into the twentieth century, through two world wars, the growth of an urban culture, rising protest, and Treaty settlements. Today, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Māori are drawing on both international connections and their ancestral place in Aotearoa.

Fifteen stunning chapters bring together scholarship in history, archaeology, traditional narratives and oral sources. A parallel commentary is offered through more than 500 images, ranging from the elegant shapes of ancient taonga and artefacts to impressions of Māori in the sketchbooks and paintings of early European observers, through the shifting focus of the photographer’s lens to the response of contemporary Māori artists to all that has gone before.

The many threads of history are entwined in this compelling narrative of the people and the land, the story of a rich past that illuminates the present and will inform the future.

The authors

Atholl Anderson (Ngāi Tahu) is Professor Emeritus at the Australian National University. He has published widely on New Zealand and Pacific archaeology and Ngāi Tahu history.

Judith Binney was Professor Emeritus at the University of Auckland, and an award-winning author of many books on Maori history, particularly the history of Te Urewera and Tuhoe.

Aroha Harris (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) is a member of the Waitangi Tribunal, and teaches history at the University of Auckland. Her publications include history, fiction and poetry.