Definition of tangata whenua in English:

tangata whenua

plural noun

  • Used to describe the Maori people of a particular locality, or as a whole as the original inhabitants of New Zealand.

    • ‘If the claims of the tangata whenua are upheld there will no doubt be negotiations with the Crown.’
    • ‘The ISA favours ancestral connection as a ‘given’, requiring proof only for its boundaries, and given the cultural context of maori as tangata whenua, this is fair enough.’
    • ‘It is the only day when Maori are recognised as the tangata whenua of this country.’
    • ‘We are concerned at the suggestion that tangata whenua will have to go to the Maori Land Court to codify their interests and to have rights awarded to them.’
    • ‘According to the email, the brick represents ‘a beacon of remembrance and a sign that the tangata whenua will not forget those that sold out over the seabed and foreshore fiasco last year.’’
    • ‘Some tangata whenua will not accept there is a sewage problem at Mahia and are opposing a sewage treatment and disposal scheme in an attempt to block development on the peninsula, a report to the Wairoa District Council says.’
    • ‘The track is not translated into English on the lyric sheet of the album, which suggests that it is addressed to Maori only, although most New Zealanders know the meaning of the term tangata whenua.’
    • ‘In New Zealand, Maori are tangata whenua, people of the land; pakeha, the whites, or visitors, are their other.’
    • ‘The proposal for ancestral connection-based customary title reflects the fact that Maori, as the tangata whenua of this land, do have that ancestral connection.’
    • ‘Historically it is suggested that in the New Zealand context Maori have lacked status as both citizens and tangata whenua.’
    • ‘I acknowledge Maori as the first tangata whenua.’
    • ‘If the Treaty proves inadequate to building a just and durable settlement between tangata whenua and tauiwi - and it doesn't have a good track record so far - the only way to achieve justice is going to be through a new covenant.’
    • ‘There was general agreement among candidates for the council to continue to pay for tangata whenua's contribution to decision making.’
    • ‘In real terms, that means an additional 155 teachers in Maori immersion education, so that we can ensure that our reo, the language of the tangata whenua, the first nation people of this country, is preserved.’
    • ‘The tangata whenua apologised to would-be campers and removed the blockade after three days and have now formed a joint committee with the Conservation Department to oversee the running of the campground.’
    • ‘The dam had been built on the site of an ancient pa, Otipa, where tangata whenua had fought and died.’
    • ‘Most members felt the present system of a broad-based representative Maori committee was a better option for tangata whenua, particularly in terms of the regional council's functions.’
    • ‘But I tell this House that Maori are the tangata whenua.’
    • ‘If those members are serious about nationhood, then they should recognise the first nation - the tangata whenua of the people.’
    • ‘Finally, some members of this House have suggested that the Treaty of Waitangi creates property rights for tangata whenua that other New Zealanders do not have.’


Maori, literally ‘people of the land’.


tangata whenua

/ˌtaŋatə ˈfɛnʊə/