is the founding ancestor of the Iwi. It is through his Horouta, Te
Arawa, Mataatua, Tainui and Tauira links that we share common ancestry
with some of the more notable Iwi of Aotearoa from Waikato in the west
through to Ngati Porou to the East. Indeed it is the intimacy of those
ancestral ties that sees Te Whanau a Apanui continue to maintain and
strengthen these inter-Iwi relationships into the second Millennium.
During the 17th century, Apanui acquired vast amounts of land along the East Coast of the North Island. Through familial connection, he acquired land from Ngāti Porou and Ngāriki. He was given land extending from Pō
tikirua to Puketapu, and from Taumata-ō-Apanui to the Mōtū River; the land in between was later won through conquest.
Relations with Europeans were not generally hostile. Early European settlers showed little interest in the isolated region, which lacked deep-water harbours for shipping. However, visiting Europeans taught Te Whānau-ā-Apanui the skills of whaling and commercial agriculture. Both areas become major economic industries for the iwi in the early 20th century, and profits were directed into community development projects.
During the 1980s, the iwi experienced economic decline with the loss of major transport services, privitisation of state assets and the eventual economic unfeasibility of its small-scale farming operations. This resulted in some emigration of iwi members from traditional tribal homelands.
Te Whānau-ā-Apanui has produced an unusually high number of artists, including Pine Taiapa, one of the foremost practitioners of traditional Māori carving; acclaimed artist Cliff Whiting; and his son, artist and restoration expert Dean. [Helen Robinson (2005), 'Cliff and Dean Whiting: Reviving Restoration', "Heritage New Zealand", Winter 2005, p.46.]
Te Whānau-ā-Apanui today
Presently, the iwi is represented by Te Rūnanga o te Whānau, which is involved in social services and local economic development. The Rūnanga successfully manages a fisheries operation and invests in the development of local forestry and other industries. In particular, the Mauri Tu Youth Academy project provides a safe environment for youth to gain life skills.