The tribe takes its name from Kahutianui-o-te-rangi, the daughter of Tūmoana. Tūmoana was captain of the Tinana canoe. He returned to Hawaiki where his nephew Te Parata renamed the canoe Māmaru.⠀
The Māmaru returned to Muriwhenua territory, first sighting land at Pūwheke mountain. Te Parata married Kahutianui-o-te-rangi, and their descendants settled the Rangaunu and Tokerau harbours. They spread south to Whangaroa Harbour, Matauri Bay and Te Tī, where they intermarried with the descendants of Puhi, the captain of the Mataatua canoe.⠀
The Tākitimu canoe, captained by Tamatea, landed at Awanui in Rangaunu Harbour. (This connection was once very important; Ngāti Kahu were sometimes known as Ngāi Tamatea.) ⠀
Ngāti Kahu were well known as coastal raiders and traders as far south as the Waipoua Forest, Whāngārei, Mahurangi and beyond. In 1990 a hui-a-Iwi was called to set up a body to be the Iwi authority for Ngati Kahu. This body was to be a runanga and care had to be taken to ensure that it was set up according to traditional Runanga criteria and not government legislative requirements. McCully Matiu played a pivotal role in the setting up of Te Runanga-a-Iwi o Ngati Kahu.
Professor Margaret Mutu
Professor Margaret Mutu is Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa and Ngāti Whātua. She has been the chair of Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu since 2001. She also chairs Karikari marae in the Far North and Kāpehu marae in the Northern Wairoa. She has represented Ngāti Kahu on the National Iwi Chairs Forum since its inauguration in 2005.
Within the Forum Margaret chairs Te Pou Tikanga, Matike Mai Aotearoa (the Constitutional Transformation Working Group) and the Aotearoa Independent Monitoring Mechanism (which reports to the Forum and the United Nations on New Zealand’s compliance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).
Margaret is the Professor of Māori Studies at the University of Auckland. She has a BSc in Mathematics, an MPhil in Māori Studies, a PhD in Māori Studies specialising in Linguistics and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. She is also a company director. She conducts research and has taught courses and supervised theses in Māori language and society, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and treaty claims against the Crown, conservation and resource management, Māori and Indigenous rights, constitutional transformation and Māori-Chinese relationships.
Margaret has published four books and many articles and book chapters. The books include one on her hapū, Te Whānau Moana, one on her iwi, Ngāti Kahu and one on Māori rights, The State of Māori Rights. She has three children and six mokopuna.