On Location: The East Cape


Driftwood fringed beaches just up against towering cliffs and deserted roads. Spectacular vistas lie around every corner. This is the East Cape. It was here that Captain Cook landed back in the 18th century, and it was also here that some of the first Māori wakas (canoes) landed over eight hundred years ago. New Zealand was one of the last habitable landmasses on earth to remain unpeopled until the arrival of our ancestors.

Māori Land Ownership

Our partnerships with other Māori landowners are very important to Oha.

Traditionally, Māori land was occupied rather than ‘owned’. Ahi-kā-roa in Māori means the long-burning fires of occupation. If a group was strong enough to defend themselves against challenges they could keep their fires burning!

When European settlers came to New Zealand they wanted to own pieces of land and over time the settler government made a law to convert Māori land ownership into individual blocks with ‘owners’.

As the loss of land became widespread, Māori looked for ways to retain land and to develop structures to manage land more effectively. These structures were needed because Māori owners increasingly owned scattered interests in numerous blocks of land.

Over time many Māori landowners joined together to form trusts or incorporations to manage their land. Today we are proud to partner with some of these groups to provide employment and resource for Māori and protect the taonga tuku iho (treasures of our heritage) for future generations.