Ngā Pakiaka Mōrehu o te Whenua

About Us | Our organisation, our name and our tohu...

About Ngā Pakiaka Mōrehu o Te Whenua

Our Name – Ngā Pakiaka Mōrehu o te Whenua is a metaphor for the people of the land, whose roots, like the indigenous forest are still firmly embedded in the soil.

Our goal is to promote the unique status of Ahi Kā who are the repositories of tribal history and knowledge of the ancestral lands for their iwi.

The project seeks to ensure that the customary knowledge, traditions and values held by the existing Ahi Ka is preserved and passed on to future generations.

Our Tohu

Our tohu is a map of our past and our future…

When we set out to design our tohu we wanted to create a visual representation of both our whenua and the people who occupy it.

Embedded in our tohu are the prominent land features located in our rohe. Our Maunga (mountain), Awa (river) and whakapapa (genealogy) can also all be identified within our tohu.  These features tell both the stories of our ancestors and ultimately the story of who we are.

There are 4 main parts to our tohu which are explained below.


1. Te Taumata o Matahourua

(Also refered to as Paranui-o-whiti, the Vernon Bluffs or the White Bluffs)

The left triangular side of our tohu represents ‘Ngā Tuari o Matahourua’, or, ‘the Vernon Bluffs’.  It’s original name refers to/or means, ‘the thwarts of the canoe’, which is also a reference to the waka of the legendary Polynesian navigator, Kupe.

2. Tapuae-o-uenuku

The top triangular part of our tohu represents our Maunga, ‘Tapuae-o-uenuku’.  Uenuku is  the name of one of our early ancestors who came to Aotearoa from Hawaiiki in search of his lover, Hinepukohurangi.  During his search, he made his way to the top of the highest peak within the area in hopes of siting her, but was engulfed by a snowstorm and died.

The name Tapuae-o-uenuku means, ‘The Sacred Footsteps of Uenuku’.

2. Wairau River and lagoons

The mid area of our tohu represents the journey of our awa (Wairau River) from the mountains, over the whenua and eventually meeting the sea via a large confluence of water known as the Wairau Lagoons.

Located at this confluence of water is an area known as Te Pokohiwi-a-Kupe. It is here that our ancestors first arrived from Polynesia nearly 800 years ago.

2. Ngā Pakiaka Mōrehu o te WhEnua

The bottom of our tohu features roots permeating through into the whenua.

The name ‘Ngā Pakiaka Mōrehu o te Whenua’ is a metaphor for ‘the people of the land’, whose roots, like the indigenous forest, are still firmly embedded in the soil.

our Project Team

Richard Bradley

Richard Bradley

Project Manager/Kaumātua

Richard Bradley was born in Blenheim and has spent much of his life in Marlborough. He has been involved in the political, economic and cultural development of Maori potential in Te Tau Ihu. Although residing in Wellington, he has figured prominently in many of the Te Tau Ihu Treaty Settlement Negotiations, in particular, the Kurahaupo and Māori Commercial Aquaculture Pre settlement negotiations with the crown. Richard has 4 children, 7 grandchildren and is of Rangitāne, Ngati Kuia and Ngati Rārua descent.
Sue Parish

Sue Parish

Project Administrator

Sue Parish was born and educated in Blenheim, where she still resides. She is the owner/operator of a successful bar and restaurant in the middle of the CBD of Blenheim. Although relatively new to projects such as Ngā Pakiaka, she brings energy, commitment and a fresh perspective to the tasks we are undertaking. Sue is of Rangitāne, Ngati Kuia and Ngai Tahu descent.
Dr. Peter Meihana

Dr. Peter Meihana

Māori Historian

Dr. Peter Meihana was born in Blenheim and is currently employed as a lecturer in History at Massey University in Palmerston North. He is a father of two children and is regarded as one of the foremost authorities in the whakapapa of the Kurahaupō iwi of the Nelson and Marlborough region and is familiar with the customs and traditions of these people. Peter is of Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne, Ngāti Apa and Ngai Tahu descent and a current Trustee of Omaka Marae.
Liz McElhinney

Liz McElhinney

Project Administration

Liz McElhinney was born, educated and resides in Blenheim. She has had a range of experiences principally in senior management and the commercial sector and is currently the senior executive of a Māori employment trust. Liz has one child, three grandchildren and is of Rangitāne, Ngāti Kuia and Ngai Tahu descent.
Keelan Walker

Keelan Walker

Digital Content Creator

Keelan Walker is of Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne, Ngāti Apa, Ngati Koata and Ngai Tahu descent.  He was born, educated and has lived much of his life in Blenheim, where he currently resides. Keelan is the owner of a successful digital Media company known as Loud noise and has gained recognition in the Maori digital design and production. His Kohikai Maori Customary Fisheries digital application is being promoted by the Ministry of Primary Industries as the preferred tool for fisheries management and reporting. Having been on the periphery of Maori customary and political development across the region Keelan also brings a fresh, energetic and innovative strength to the project group.