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Māori in Tamaki Makaurau

Māori living in Tāmaki Makaurau are both mana whenua and mataawaka.

Mana whenua are the 19 iwi (tribes) or hapū (sub-tribes) with territorial affiliations to the Tāmaki Makaurau area that are recognised by the Auckland Council.

These groups have specific rights and responsibilities in relation to natural resources within Tāmaki Makaurau.

In addition there are Māori from other tribes and their descendants who migrated to Tāmaki Makaurau from other parts of the country, referred to as mataawaka.

The migration of Māori populations to urban centres increased after World War II because government policies encouraged Māori to join the urban labour force to contribute to industry (Ryks, Pearson & Waa, 2016).

Māori population numbers [note 1]

More Māori live in Tāmaki Makaurau than in any other region in Aotearoa.

At the 2013 Census:

  • 163,920 people in Tāmaki Makaurau identified as being of Māori descent. This is 25 per cent of all Māori in Aotearoa, or 12 per cent of the population of Tāmaki Makaurau.
  • 142,770 identified as being of Māori ethnicity. This is 24 per cent of all Māori in Aotearoa, or 11 per cent of the population of Tāmaki Makaurau.

The table below shows a breakdown of mana whenua and mataawaka groups in Tāmaki Makaurau based on the 2013 Census and provided by Ryks, Pearson and Waa (2016).

Ten iwi with largest population size in Tāmaki Makaurau, 2013 includes iwi. In 2013, approximately 14,000 people gave their iwi but did not respond to the Māori descent question, (compared with approximately 20,000 people in 2006)  responses and iwi groupings (includes all people who stated each iwi, whether as their only iwi or as one of several. Where a person reported more than one iwi, they were counted in each applicable iwi).


​Number in Tāmaki Makaurau​% of all Iwi groups in Tāmaki Makaurau​Number in Aotearoa​% of Iwi living in Tāmaki Makaurau
​Ngāti Porou​13,161​8​71,049​19
​Ngāti Maniapoto​8,346​5​35,358​24
​Ngāti Whātua​7,353​5​14,784​50
​Te Rarawa​7,224​5​16512​44
​Ngāi Tahu / Kāi Tahu​6,600​4​54,819​12
​Ngāti Tūwharetoa​5,991​4​35,874​17
​Te Arawa (iwi not named)​4,677​3​19,722​24

Data source: Stats NZ, Census of Population and Dwellings


Between 2006 and 2013, the number of people of Māori descent living in Tāmaki Makaurau this group increased by 4092, or 3 per cent.

However, this growth was not as great as in the five years from 2001 to 2006, where the group increased by 10,635 or 7 per cent.

This follows the national pattern of slowing growth for the Māori population.

Number of people of Māori descent, Tāmaki Makaurau and rest of Aotearoa, 2001, 2006, 2013

Graph that shows the number of people of Maori descent, Tamaki Makaurau and Aotearoa 2001, 2006, 2013 Data source: Stats NZ, Census of Population and Dwellings


The Māori descent population in Tāmaki Makaurau is youthful. In 2013, over half of the population (51 per cent) was younger than 25, and a third (33 per cent) were children under 15 years of age

Age sex structure, Māori and Tāmaki Makaurau 2013

Graph shows the breakdown of people of Maori descent, Tamaki Makaurau and Aotearoa by age and by sex

Data source: Stats NZ, Census of Population and Dwellings


Less than 5 per cent of the population were aged 65 years or older.

The median age of Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau increased from 22.3 years in 2001 to 23.5 years in 2013.

This compares to the Tāmaki Makaurau population overall which increased from 33.3 years to 35.1 years respectively.

Where Māori live in Tāmaki Makaurau

Māori live in all parts of Tāmaki Makaurau, with higher concentrations in the southern and western areas.

Māori population in Tāmaki Makaurau by local board area 2013

At the 2013 Census, the largest proportion of Māori lived in Manurewa Local Board area (12 per cent of Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau) followed by those living in the Henderson-Massey Local Board area (12 per cent).

The socio-economic situation

Socio-economic indicators reveal that there have been some improvements for Māori.

Socio-economic indicators for Māori (by ethnicity) aged 15 years and over in Tāmaki Makaurau

Graph showing the socio-economic indicators for Maori aged 15 and overSource: Stats NZ, Census of Population and Dwellings (2006 and 2013) by ethnicity and Household Labour Force Survey (December 2014 and December 2015)

Note: Data on qualifications and personal income is taken from the 2006 and 2013 Census results. Data on unemployment and NEET rate is from the HLFS for year ending December 2014 and December 2015.


However, the number of Māori in skilled occupations decreased by 6 per cent from 2014 to 2015. This was a result of the overall decline in Māori employment in the region.

There were also proportionately more Māori working in goods-producing industries and fewer in the service industries, in comparison to other ethnic groups.

The median income for Māori in 2013 ($24,500) was lower than the median income for Aucklanders as a whole ($29,600), and $12,000 less than the median income among the European ethnic group.

Despite this lower median income, Māori had the second highest proportion of adults earning $50,000 or more per annum at 22 per cent (behind European at 37 per cent), compared to other ethnic groups.

Among those of Māori descent, about 29,820 (or 27 per cent) in Tāmaki Makaurau own or partly own their place of usual residence. 

Tenure, highest educational qualification and personal income, adult population (aged 15 and over) in the 10 largest iwi populations (Māori descent) living in Tāmaki Makaurau, 2013

​Own or partly own usual residence​Degree or higher qualification​Personal income $50,001 or more
​Ngāti Porou​24​15​25
​Ngāti Maniapoto​23​12​22
​Ngāti Whātua​23​11​21
​Te Rarawa​26​15​23
​Ngāi Tahu/Kāi Tahu​39​26​35
​Ngāti Tūwharetoa​21​13​24
​Te Arawa (iwi not named)​22​14​22
​Iwi total (Tāmaki Makaurau)​27​13​24

 Source: Stats NZ, Census of Population and Dwellings (2013)


How the Māori population is expected to grow

Māori play an important role in the social and economic landscape of Tāmaki Makaurau and will continue to do so. The Māori population is increasing and will continue to grow.

Stats NZ's latest ethnic population projections (medium series) suggest the Māori population:

  • is likely to grow at a rate of 1.7 per cent per annum over the next 25 years

  • will make up 11.6 per cent of the Tāmaki Makaurau population by 2038.

Projected growth in ethnic groups in Auckland, 2013 to 2038

Graph showing the projected population growth by ethnic group for 2013 to 2038

Source: Stats NZ, Subnational ethnic population projections (released 2017)

While lower than the projected rate of growth for the Asian population (3.3 per cent per annum), the Māori population growth rate is anticipated to be higher than for European or other (0.7 per cent), and about the same rate as for Pacific people (1.9 per cent) and Tāmaki Makaurau overall (1.6 per cent).

Furthermore, the Māori population will continue to age, but will also continue to have a youthful population structure for some time. This is important in terms of an ageing Tāmaki Makaurau population.

In the post-Treaty of Waitangi settlement era, the contribution of Māori to the economy of Tāmaki Makaurau has also emerged as a significant phenomenon.

There is already evidence that iwi in Tāmaki Makaurau are building solid economies that will not only benefit whānau but will also have substantial positive consequences for the wider Tāmaki Makaurau economy.


Ryks, J., Pearson, A. L., & Waa, A. (2016). Insert - Mapping urban Māori: A population-based study of Māori heterogeneity. New Zealand Geographer. Vol 72:1, pp 28-40. 


[1] Māori are counted in two ways in the New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings: through ethnicity (cultural affiliation) and through Māori descent (ancestry). Unless otherwise specified all data is from Stats NZ, Census of Population and Dwellings 2013 by descent.