How did Ngāti Kurī get its Name?

· Maori,Identity,Book,Writing

How did Ngāti Kurī get its Name?

As I whakapapa to Ngāti Kurī, I was asked in 2019 to rewrite a story on the origins of the tribe's name for the school journal. For me it was a privilege and an honour.

I was sent the story which was deemed the official account by the ministry of education of how Ngāti Kurī got its name. The problem was the official story was wrong. 

I informed the ministry that I couldn't continue unless I wrote the correct account, and with the input of Ngāti Kurī elder, Matua Pene Waitai. My Uncle. The ministry was excited and gave their support.

The result was Ngātī Kuri Proud. My retelling which weaves together three accounts of how the tribe got its name. 

Matua Pene got to see my story before it went to print. I was nervous, however Matua loved it and gave his blessing. 

Munro Te Whata was behind the amazing illustrations. 

These days writers are expected to sign over copyright of their school journal stories to the ministry of education. I had to tell the ministry that I couldn't do that. While I may have put it together the origins stories don't belong to me as an individual. They belong to the iwi, and so the story is copyright Ngāti Kurī.

When I received my copies of the journal I took a road trip north to Te Hapua to deliver the story in person to Matua Pene. A big thanks to him and to Whaea Carol for looking after me for the weekend.

I am proud alright, Ngāti Kurī Proud. 

The story can be downloaded and heard by clicking the button below. 

With love


This article was first published on Facebook and Linkedin September 6, 2021.

Copyright© Tim Tipene, 2021.

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