Iwi is the largest social units in NZ and Maori society. most Maori in pre-European times gave their primary allegiance to relatively small groups like a family.
Hapu ranged in hundreds of people, mostly including extended families. had territories such as sea fisheries and shellfish beds etc. ruling families and their leaders would mediate some disputes over land and others resolved through intermarriage.
The Ngai-Tai tribe lived under the cover of forests in the Waitakere and controlled land as far north as the Kaipara. the dominant power of the Tamaki tribes was from Wai-o-Hua, a federation of tribes formed under Hui-O-Kaiwaka.
in the early 18th century the Ngati Paoa made their way to the Hauraki gulf. between 1740 and 1750 Ngati whatau-o-Kaipara moved south, invading and killing Tamaki, leader of Wai-O-Hua
from 1600 to 1750 tribes terraced the volcanic cones building pa. across the isthmus, they developed 2,000 hectares of kumara gardens. in 1750 the population numbered 10's of thousands. it had become the pre-European most wealthy area.
in 1821 Hongi Hika launched a series of attacks on the Tamaki region. with 2,000 men and 1,000 muskets, they stormed over to Ngati Paoa pa, which then killed and enslaved hundreds. the battle was fought near Kaiwaka