The iwi groups of New Zealand trace back to polynesian migrants of Hawaiki. Iwi are one of the largest social units in New Zealand's society. Iwi is often translated as tribe.
Maori settlements in Tamaki Makaurau
Many tribes where founded in the Tamaki Makaurau ranges. The Ngāi Tai tribe, which descended from the Tainui canoe, settled in Maraetai. The other Tainui descendants were Te Kawerau-a-Maki who lived in forest land in the Waitākere ranges. The Ngāti Te Ata iwi was found along the south of Manukau. Along the coast from Whangaparāoa to the Thames estuary was where Ngāti Pāoa, a Hauraki tribe could be found.
The ngapuhi Invasion
During the early 18th century the Ngati Paoa iwi started to make there way towards the Hauraki gulf. Between 1740-1750 Ngati Whatua-o-kaipara moved towards the south, invading the ithsums and killing Kiwi Tamaki, cheif of wai-o-hua. They secured there dominence by intermarrying with the Nga oho, decendants of the Wai-o-hua. Then followed a period of peace in which the conflict with the tribes made the Tāmaki tribes vulnerable to attack.
Land use in the region
From 1600-1750 the Tamiki tribes terrenced all of the volcanic cones, where then then built pa. Next, across the isthmus they developed over 2000 hectres of kumara patches. At the peak of prosperity in 1750, the population reached tens of thousands. It was the pre-European most wealthy and populous area.
In 1821, Hongi Hika launched a series of attacks on the Tamaki regions, wanting to avenge the past defeats by the Tamaki tribes. He attacked with 2,000 men and 1,000 muskets. He destroyed two Ngāti Paoa pā, Mauinaina and Mokoia, he ended up killing hundreds and enslaved hundreds more. Hika repeated the slaughter at Te Tōtara, the Ngāti Maru fortress near Thames. In 1825 Hika attacked once again.
In the past, the coastal area of Auckland was the main access of resources for early Maori. Seasonal migration often occurred, people would go to find newer food sources. The Tamaki River was a shark and kawhai fishing ground; fish drying took place on the river between Pakuranga and Otara.