History of Hokonui Runanga

Charlton Road

Hokonui Runanga purchased the site at Charlton Road in 1999. The location is significant as it nestles among the trails and landmarks formed by our ancestors.  Prominent personalities are inextricably linked to the local landmarks and their knowledge and understanding of the area has been passed down for nearly a thousand years.

A long history

Our people have a long history in this area. Te Rakitauneke the Kati Mamoe chief  whose famous taniwha (dragon) Matamata now forms the profile of the Hokonui Hills, and Paroparo Te Whenua whose discovery of kanakana (lamprey) favoured the waterfalls at Mataura as a major food gathering site.

The  long history of the area is punctuated by the inconsolable grief of Weka who lost his wife Nuku and his child Hinaki when he was delayed on a hunting trip in the valley for several days in a snow storm.  Returning home he found them, dead beneath the snow.  After burying them he composed a moving lament on the terrace of East Gore, a place known as Onuku (see photo right).

Then in 1834 what has become to be regarded as the last intertribal combat in New Zealand happened at Tuturau.  After an unsuccessful raid by Ngati Tama chief Te Puhou, Tuturau became home to Reko.  Reko’s ability to guide and his vast knowledge of the area was pivotal to the accurate mapping of the inland regions of the lower South Island.

Planning for the future

Surrounded now by the landforms and rivers that speak of the richness of history that has preceded,  Hokonui Runanga members  held a series of planning wananga.  Here they set goals for social, economic and cultural development for the present and non attending members (including those with immediate right through to those who would have rights of succession).

From those early wananga, strategic objectives were set and implemented. Objectives embraced the following areas:

  • Health and well-being
  • Cultural development
  • Protection of the environment
  • Employment.

A major outcome of these early wananga was the establishment of our Health and Social Services Trust.

Key projects

The following projects are currently being implemented by Hokonui Runanga:

  • Mataitai Project - restoration and protection  of traditional Mahinga Kai sites
  • Whahi Tapu sites and waterways
  • Wetlands Project - restoration and protection of the natural environment that it is predator free
  • Art and Culture Project - resulting in a carved gateway at the Museum in Gore
  • Flower Project - a commercial flower growing operation.

Find out more about these key projects in our Projects section.

A vision for the future

Hokonui Runanga continues to work for the benefit of those who whakapapa to Hokonui and the communities associated with and connected to the takiwa of Hokonui.

Our vision the future is threefold:

  • to have increased membership participation,
  • to protect Runanga cultural and environmental heritage and
  • to continue providing services in a setting of excellence.