Omāhu Marae

A Hui Taumata will be held in Ngāti Kahungunu on 31 May hosted by Omāhu Marae to identify solutions for Māori Unity – Kotahitanga. 

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc. Chair, Bayden Barber says, “We saw thousands of people gather at Tūrangawaewae, Rātana and Waitangi. One of the key themes spoken of at each of these hui was the need for Iwi Māori to unify. We must come together as an irresistible force that cannot be ignored, no matter who is sitting in government. We must not lose momentum on this important kaupapa. We need to take advantage of the energy and passion that is out there. The timing is right.” 

Helmut Modlik, CEO of Ngāti Toa Rangatira, who facilitated a National Iwi Chairs Forum (NCIF) wānanga in Rotorua last month to start thinking about such issues, says, “We’ve done the talking. It’s now time to do the mahi and consider what Kotahitanga could look like in the 21st Century. If we are to truly achieve Rangatiratanga as a people, we need to come together, but it needs form and function.”  

The Hui Taumata will be an action call to Māoridoms’ thought leaders from around the motu to put forward proposals and discussion documents on achieving Kotahitanga before the hui, so they can be considered and discussed by those in attendance on May 31.  “If we can start forming the building blocks before the Hui Taumata, we won’t need to start from scratch as some of the thinking would have already been shared,” says Barber.  

“We have numerous existing collectives within Te Ao Māori such as the National Iwi Chairs Forum, NZ Māori Council, Māori Womens Welfare League etc. and they all play an important role, however, we are yet to achieve the Kotahitangi needed to truly influence. This government continues to ignore us. We need to change that.”

The Hui Taumata will be held at Omāhu Marae, one of the seven Marae devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle just over a year ago and the largest marae in Heretaunga. Barber says, “Omāhu is a tohu, or sign, of Māori Mana Motuhake, of true community resilience in the face of extreme hardship. Our marae have shown what can be achieved through unified vision and collaborative effort. Nothing is impossible.”

Barber is encouraging iwi and Māori organisations to come prepared to discuss and debate. “Kaua e haere mai me tō rae anake. Haria mai ō whakaaro hei waihanga i tō tātou whare.” There will be a repository of discussion documents available on the following website in due course.

In association with the National Iwi Chairs Forum, the Hui Taumata will be hosted by Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc., Mana Ahuriri, Ngāti Pāhauwera, Ngāti Hineuru and Omāhu Marae/ Te Piringa Hapū.

Kahungunu Hui-ā-Iwi called to prepare

Ngāti Kahungunu is calling its own Hui-ā-Iwi to discuss kotahitanga in preparation for the Hui Taumata.  The Hui-ā-Iwi will be held at Waipatu Marae, on April 26, 2024.  

Ngāti Kahungunu Chair Bayden Barber says, “We will be meeting at Waipatu Marae, the spiritual home of Te Kotahitanga Movement from the 1890s to discuss what kotahitanga means for Ngāti Kahungunu in 2024.  

All of our Treaty settlements have been completed so it’s timely that Kahungunu have these discussions ourselves to see what a united future looks like in our rohe. It is also a good opportunity to canvas our own Kotahitanga model to put on the table at the Hui Taumata in May.”

Barber comments, “We heard why Kotahitanga was important at Tūrangawaewae, Rātana and Waitangi, now we need to work on the ‘how’, to give it the form and function to truly leverage what a united iwi Māori can realise. It is really exciting!”

The Coalition Government set a fire under iwi Māori when it set out its intentions to review Te Tiriti o Waitangi and retract numerous policy settings designed to improve Māori outcomes. This prompted Ngāti Kahungunu to call a Hui-ā-Iwi back in December 2023.  

Thompson Hokianga, Deputy Chair of Ngāti Kahungunu says, “Our people came to Waimārama Marae in big numbers in December. We had over 45 speakers that day along with numerous motions from the floor to action. This is a great opportunity to report on the progress made since then,”

Having the Hui-ā-Iwi a day after ANZAC Day is no coincidence either. Barber says, “Many of our ancestors fought in Wars overseas for King and Country yet they returned home to a nation that did not acknowledge their sacrifice. They paid the price of citizenship, yet many had no land to return to, no jobs and dim prospects going forward. This needs to change. There is a bright future for Aotearoa and Māori are key to this nation’s success. A unified Kahungunu and a unified iwi Māori can be the springboard to get us there faster.”


Join the Conversation


  1. I have watched Parliament in session and wept as Labour’s legislation for the health of all New Zealanders is being wiped out. I applaud the efforts of my Maori friends to maintain their mana and te reo. I have listened to Bayden Barber and I’m encouraged by his words and actions. Kia kaha!

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