Te Hora Marae... The home of Ngāti Kuia

Te Hora Marae

Te Hora marae sits at the confluence of the Whakamarino and Te Hoiere Rivers, at the feet of the maunga Tutumapou. Today Te Hora is the turangawaewae of the Ngati Kuia people. 

Historically, Te Hora was one of many sites occupied by Ngati Kuia. In the nineteenth century Orakauhamu (Ruapaka) was established as the tribal capital, and it was here that Ngati Kuia and its affiliated hapu regrouped following the depredations of the musket wars and the onset of colonisation.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the Te Hora Pa Komiti was established to advance the Ngati Mamoe interests of the Ngati Kuia, Rangitane, and Ngati Apa people. The members of the very first Te Hora Pa Komiti were: Te Pou Hemi, Hakaraia Hemi, Watene Hemi, Tahuariki Meihana, and Manihera Tauhanga. Today’s Komiti are the descendants of those leaders.

In 1856 Ngati Kuia signed the Ngati Kuia and Rangitane Deed of Sale. Te Hora, like Orakauhamu, was set aside and created as a reserve under the Native Reserves Act. Between 1889 and 1895 the Native Land Court determined who the beneficial owners the 1856 reserves were. In the case of Te Hora, 230 acres was awarded to 31 owners. As would be later shown, they were inadequate for the future needs of the signatories and their descendants.

During the 1980s whanau from Wairau and Whakatu, most having left the Marlborough Sounds and Pelorus Valley in previous decades agreed to establish a marae at Te Hora for the benefit of all Ngati Kuia.  In 1987 the owners of Te Hora 32A2A2 gifted their interests for this very purpose.    

In recent years Te Hora Pa has continued to grow. The first buildings were erected in 1990 and in 2001 modern wharepaku were built. In more recent times Te Runanga o Ngati Kuia, with the assistance of Lotteries New Zealand, has built a new complex. The existing building has been refurbished and is named Te Rupe o Ruapaka. The new wharekai – Kai au Wahine — is connected to Te Rupe by a covered open space named Te Hoiere. The new complex was opened in March 2016.

Above: The original whare built on the Te Hora pa site in the late eighties.

About the area


The town was founded in 1864, after gold was discovered in the Wakamarina Valley. Up to 6000 miners came to make their fortunes. Where there had previously been a Māori Pā, streets of tents sprang up providing accommodation, restaurants and taverns to a population of about 3000 people.

About 25,000 ounces (710,000 g) of gold was recovered in 1864. The surface gold was worked out within two years and most of the miners moved to new gold discoveries on the West Coast.  Steam dredges continued to work the river into the 20th century.


Te Hora Marae

Te Hora Pā Road, Canvastown, Marlborough – New Zealand

Distance (km) from Te Hora Marae to…

CLICK HERE for directions to Te Hora Marae

Nelson (53 min)

Blenheim (40 min)

Havelock (8 min)

Picton (51 min)


Our Tohu

Within Ngati Kuia oral tradition there are a number stories relating to te Rupe . Its significance is such that it is depicted here, resting at the summit of Tutumapou. Te Hora , the raised terrace at the foot of Tutumapou, is situated at the confluence of the Whakamarino and Te Hoiere rivers. Te Hora Pa is represented here by the dorsal fin of Kaikaiawaro.

Ngati Kuia


Te Iwi Pakohe

Ngāti Kuia are the first people of Te Tauihu. The descendants of Maui, Kupe and Matuahautere. It was Matuahautere who was brought to this place by the taniwha Kaikaiawaro and it was the people of Matuahautere, Ngāti Kuia, who settled the land – Te Hoiere.

Ngāti Kuia gave their voice to the land which gave us a reason to speak. Through generations, Ngāti Kuia became one with the Ngāti Wairangi, the Ngāti Kopia, the Ngāti Haua, the Ngāi Tawake, the Ngāti Whakamana, the Ngā Te Heiwi and the Ngāti Tumatakokiri. Ngāti Kuia endured the coming of Ngā Iwi Hou and Pakeha.

The challenges Ngāti Kuia face today are different from those faced by their Tūpuna, yet as Tangata Whenua the obligations to those Tūpuna, the land, and those who follow, remains. Ngāti Kuia are bound by whakapapa and guided by the principles of kotahitanga, whanaungatanga, whangai and manaakitanga and must ensure that the land continues to speak. In doing this the land, as it has always done, will protect and enhance the mana of its first people – Ngāti Kuia.


Te Hoiere

Motuweka (the site of present day Havelock) is located at the confluence of the Kaituna and Awanui Rivers. These two rivers feed the body of water known as Te Hoiere (Pelorus Sound).

The traditions surrounding the creation of Te Hoiere and the history of tangata whenua (people of the land/first people) are intimately connected with the taniwha Kaikaiawaro (known by the settler community as Pelorus Jack). Kaikaiawaro created Te Hoiere by carving it out with his nose and it was Kaikaiawaro who guided the ancestor Matuahautere to this place. Over time the descendants of Matuahautere, the Ngāti Kuia, occupied the bays and inlets of Te Hoiere utilising its many resources. The Kaituna and Awanui rivers provided an abundance of eels. From the islands at the entrance of Te Hoiere, Ngāti Kuia harvested seabirds. Its waters supplied a plethora of fish species, and of course, from its shores were gathered many shellfish such as the mussel.

In the period leading up to formal colonisation, Ngāti Kuia withstood the raids of northern tribes armed with muskets. Although this resulted in the loss of life, Ngāti Kuia remained in Te Hoiere and continued to utilise the resources of the area. From 1840 the Crown began extending its authority. Governor George Grey set about purchasing large areas of the South Island dealing firstly with those tribes deemed to have the greatest rights, that is, those who had arrived with the musket. In 1856, Ngāti Kuia, as a fait accompli, signed a Deed of Sale with the Crown. The sale included the land on which Havelock now sits. In return Ngāti Kuia was promised schools and hospitals and enough land to cater for the present and future needs of the tribe. As is the story of colonisation, the Crown fell short on its promises.

Government policy was one of amalgamation, Ngāti Kuia were gradually reduced to living on small reserves where they were expected to become farmers, even though many of those reserves were prone to flooding. Although Ngāti Kuia continued to utilise traditional food sources, the Crown undermined such practices by imposing a newly discovered western conservation ethic. Islands that once provided food, that Ngāti Kuia have consistently stated they did not sell, would over time become nature reserves and off limits to tangata whenua. Western farming practices ensured that wet lands, another important food source, would be drained or become dump sites. Ngāti Kuia signed a deed of settlement with the Crown in 2010. Many of these issues remain unresolved.

Contact Details

Te Hora Marae

14 Te hora pā Rd,
Marlborough 7178,
New Zealand