Sacred Obligations

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whātua is driven by three sacred obligations: Mana Ngāti Whātua, Manaakitanga and Kaitiakitanga.

First Principles

In fulfilling these obligations, the Rūnanga recognises nine First Principles to accomplish wellness for the iwi. Each principle literally forms the Rūnanga strategy.

Three First Principle-driven strategies are used to achieve the Rūnanga's obligation to Mana Ngāti Whātua. They are:


Reo is a language revitalisation strategy which has been designed to start a process which will rediscover, recover and protect te reo as a spoken language. The focus will be given to quality, correctness and promotion of the distinct language of Ngāti Whātua - te reo o Ngāti Whātua-ake. Promotion through te reo used in homes of the Ngāti Whātua Iwi will determine the success of this strategy.


Mua is a cultural heritage strategy which has been designed to rediscover, recover and protect the cultural heritage information that is unique to Ngāti Whātua. The purpose is to reconnect the Iwi with their heritage and encourage them to expand on this applying it in new ways while looking after the integrity of our tupuna's valuable legacy.


Toi is the arts and creativity strategy which believes that the arts have always provided a variety of ways to express identity and reflect and interpret the environment around people. Vital information can be embellished, issues can be brought to the fore and beauty can be appreciated. The strategy of Toi looks to begin a process of fostering creative talent and raising the status of the unique arts of Ngāti Whātua.

Manaakitanga is achieved with the aid of three First Principles.


Ihi is a strategy to motivate intrinsic wellness in Ngāti Whātua people.


Ako is a strategy to improve educational opportunity for Ngāti Whātua.

The Rūnanga is currently evolving relationships with Minisitry of Education, Otago University and other education providers. Marae and tikanga based learning is a focus for the Rūnanga.


Ora is a strategy to achieve total wellbeing for the iwi.

The Rūnanga undertakes a number of activities under Ora, both in direct service via Te Hā Oranga, and in policy development, advice and partnership with health service providers in Northland and Auckland.

Hau, Tai and Hua make up total nine First principles. They drive strategies to uphold the Rūnanga's obligation to Kaitiakitanga.


Hau is a strategy that relates to air quality and air waves.


Tai is a strategy to improve marine based activities.

Ngāti Whātua has interests in five harbours throughout its rohe: Whangārei, Mangawhai, Kaipara, Waitematā and Manukau.

We are currently working closely with the government as the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 is implemented.The Rūnanga also provides advice to local and central government agencies regarding Mana Whenua issues across the rohe relating to both marine and land based resource management.


Hua is a strategy related to land based activities.