People of Northland

Here are some sources you could look at if you'd like to find out about individual people or groups of people from Northland | Te Tai Tokerau.

Close up photo of Ngāpuhi leader Eruera Maihi Patuone.

Image: Eruera Maihi Patuone, circa 1870 by [unknown]. Collection: Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections T5455.

Which people can I learn about?

Here are some people related to Northland you could find out about:


According to pūrākau, Kupe was the first explorer to discover Aotearoa New Zealand, landing in the Hokianga Harbour.

Find out about Kupe
Te Ruki Kawiti (177?-1854)

Te Ruki Kawiti (177?-1854)
Ngāpuhi chief and warrior.

Find out about Te Ruki Kawiti
Samuel Marsden (1765-1838)

Samuel Marsden (1765-1838)
Chaplain, magistrate, agriculturalist, missionary.

Find out about Samuel Marsden
Hone Tuwhare (1922-2008)

Hone Tuwhare (1922-2008)
Ngāpuhi poet.

Find out about Hone Tuwhare
Dame Whina Cooper (1895-1994)

Dame Whina Cooper (1895-1994)
Te Rarawa woman of mana and community leader.

Find out about Dame Whina Cooper
Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868-1920)

Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia (1868-1920)
Te Rarawa woman of mana and suffragist.

Find out about Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia

Tips: These are just some examples of people you could research. You may have someone different you're interested in finding out about. Just use their name as your search terms in the resources below.

Local iwi:

Note: Iwi are listed in alphabetical order. This list was put together to the best of our knowledge. If there are any other iwi to be included, please let us know.

Northland resources

These are some local websites and collections you can use to find out about the histories of people in Northland.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed by the British and Māori at Waitangi. The Museum of Waitangi and Treaty House are good places to visit in person or online to find out about Te Titiri o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi.

  • The museum includes displays on what led up to the Treaty signing.

  • Interactive displays let you look at people who signed the Treaty of Waitangi in different places in New Zealand.

  • Te Rau Aroha is a war museum on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds that shows how Māori have contributed to New Zealand's war efforts since 1840.

Whangarei District Libraries

Whangarei District Libraries have lots of items about the history of the Northland area.

  • Go to Heritage, then Northland Heritage.

  • Choose Northland history to find what types of information they have.

  • Visit the Northland Room at Whangārei Central Library to look at some items in person.

  • Or choose Heritage Talks to browse a list of talks that have been given at the library.

  • Some include links to videos of the talks such as Ko Tōku Hau Kainga: My Home Space, about the Māori history of Whangārei.

Rediscovery: Far North District Library Local Histories Collections

Online access to photos, documents, maps and more about the Far North's past from Far North District Libraries. You can either browse or search the collections.

  • Enter the name of a person or group of people in the search box, or

  • go to Browse all to browse the collection.

  • You can use Filter by and Format eg photograph, or Date to get fewer results.

  • Select an item to find out more about it.

Tips: Stories can be told in different ways. It’s a good idea to look at multiple information sources about a topic to help you put together your own narrative.

Whangarei District Libraries Heritage Collection

This is an online collection of historical maps, photos, audio, and more about Whangarei and Northland.

  • Enter the name of a person or group of people in the search box, or

  • go to Browse all to browse the collection.

  • You can use Filter by and Format eg photograph, or Date to get fewer results.

  • Select an item to find out more about it.

  • You can select Audio for oral histories with people about their lives.

Te Ahurea

The website for Te Ahurea, a historical experience in the Kerikeri basin. It includes information about the history of Kerikeri and Kororipo Pā.

  • Find the About us menu.

  • Go to The Warlords to find out about Rewa, Hongi Hika, and Tāreha.

Te Ruapekapeka

This site was put together by the Te Ruapekapeka Trust and the Department of Conservation. It has information out about the people involved in the Battle of Ruapekapeka and Māori society.

  • Look down the page to Cast of characters to choose a person to find out more about.

  • Or go to Our Traditions to find out about Māori society.

  • Or select Māori Warfare to find out about these traditions.

Te Rarawa

This is the website of Te Rarawa iwi. It has a history of the iwi.

  • Go to History.

  • You can read the History of the Organisation or the History of Te Rarawa Iwi.

Tips: Some websites have .iwi in their url. This tells you that the website belongs to an iwi and likely has Māori knowledge (mātauranga Māori).

Far North District Libraries

This is the catalogue for the Far North District Libraries. You can search for books to borrow or read in the library.

  • Enter the name of a person or group of people in the search box.

  • Select a book to find out more and which library it can be found at.

Tips: Before searching it can be useful to come up with a list of words to use. These are sometimes called keywords. They can be the name of a person, place, or event you are researching.

Waipu Scottish Migrant Museum

Tells the settlement story of the Scottish Immigrants in Waipu.

General New Zealand resources

These websites have good historical information about all of New Zealand, as well as Northland.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (DNZB)

This website has over 3,000 biographies of New Zealanders who have made their mark on this country. It does not include people who are alive. This site includes around 500 biographies that are in te reo Māori.

  • Use the names of the people as search words to read about their lives and what they achieved, or

  • you can do an Advanced Biographies Search which allows you to narrow down your search by region.

Tips: DNZB is part of Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and belongs to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, so information is well-researched and reliable. You can tell this from their web address — they have .govt meaning they are from government organisations. They are also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.


NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Enter 'Northland' in the search bar.

  • Select Biographies from the menu on the right.

  • Or, you could choose the tab People to browse an A-Z list of well-known New Zealanders.

Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Search for the name of a person or group of people.

  • Or go to the section on Māori New Zealanders then select Iwi.

  • Choose an iwi to find out information about them.

Museum of New Zealand | Te Papa Tongarewa

New Zealand's national museum located in Wellington has an online collection that covers Taonga Māori, Aotearoa New Zealand history, and Pacific cultures. It has a useful search feature to browse.

  • Search for a particular person or group, or you can search for 'Northland'.

  • Under Filters and Type, choose Person.

  • Select a person to explore their connection to Northland through the objects and articles related to them.


This is a search site that focuses on Aotearoa New Zealand's history and brings together results from lots of different websites such as New Zealand libraries, museums, universities, and government sites all at once.

  • Search using the name of a person or a group of people.

  • Look at a range of videos, audio, articles and images, and more about your topic.

Te Kāhui Māngai (Directory of Iwi and Māori Organisations)

Te Kāhui Māngal is owned by Te Puni Kōkiri Ministry of Māori Development. Use the website to find basic information about iwi, hapū, and marae.

  • Use Iwi by Map or Iwi by Local Authority to find Te Tai Tokerau.

  • This will lead you to iwi recognised by the Crown, their rohe, and other useful information.

Māori Maps

Helps to connect Māori descendants with their marae, and enable visitors to make appropriate contact with these centres of culture - in particular, linking Māori youth with their ancestral identity.

  • Select an area to view details of the local marae.

Stats NZ | Tatauranga Aotearoa

Stats NZ is New Zealand's official data agency that collects information about people and organisations through censuses and surveys.

  • Search for 'Northland'.

  • Select Northland Region to find information on the population demographics, ethnicity, culture, identity, age, and migration to and from this area.


Your local or school library will have books about Northland's histories, here are some we found:

More about Northland

Places of Northland

There are many places that are significant to Northland | Te Tai Tokerau. This page will recommend resources to find out about the first capital of New Zealand (Russell | Kororāreka) and other places important to the history of Northland.

Learn about places of Northland

Events of Northland

Lots of events have had an impact on Northland | Te Tai Tokerau. The information sources listed below have information on these events and offer different perspectives.

Learn about events of Northland