The people of Ngāti Hauiti take their name from the eponymous tupuna Hauiti, whose origins within the Mōkai Pātea District came from Te Hika ā Kahukare, descendents of Tamatea Pokai Whenua and his second wife Kahukare.
Hauiti was the son of Whakaruruhau of Te Hika ā Kahukare, and Paratuae, who was herself a descendent of Ngāti Whatumamoa the iwi that held mana whenua of much of the central/southern part of the Mōkai Pātea District.
From the time of Hauiti down to the mid 1800’s, Ngāti Hauiti held control of the western and southern parts of the Mōkai Pātea rohe and with the support of their closely related whanaunga of Ngāti Whitikaupeka, Ngāi Te Ohuake, Ngāti Tamakōpiri from within the rohe, and also from some elements of their Ngāti Hinemanu relatives from Ngāti Kahungunu. Despite many attempts by other iwi to take their lands, they managed to hold onto all of what had been passed down to them from these tūpuna.
Up until the Native land Court hearings within the wider Mōkai Pātea District, from 1865 to 1906, Ngāti Hauiti continued to be governed by Rangatira representing each of its seven main hapū. However, with the alienation of the majority of their land through these processes, by the end of the 1920’s, Ngāti Hauiti was leaderless and the traditional structures of the iwi had collapsed.
Following the nationwide revitalisation of tikanga Māori and the drive for the rescue of tō tātou reo rangatira during the late 1970’s early 1980’s, our marae at Rātā was renovated and marae Trustees were elected and a Committee was put in place to administer its operations. This was followed by a greater interest in the actions of the Crown, who in their drive to transfer or sell Crown Land and other properties to the control and ownership of non-government organisations such as Corporations and Councils, were not first offering these lands/properties back to its original iwi Māori owners. The sale of railways land and school properties, which had originally been taken under various Government Works Acts, alerted us to the need to organise ourselves to take action to recover such properties for the benefit of our people of Ngāti Hauiti.
The first such action was the establishment of the Potaka Whānau Trust, who later lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal seeking the return of all Crown held land and buildings within the Potaka (Utiku) native Township, to the descendents of its original owners. Claim No. WAI 385 was issued by the Tribunal.