Welcome to the Whakapapa Genealogy Project

Kia ora and welcome to the Whakapapa Genealogy Project website for the Whakapapa Māori Charitable Trust. We hope that this website will be a great resource for anyone hoping to research their whakapapa/family history.


The tohunga of old were responsible for keeping the whakapapa and stories of their own hapu. They were trained in the whare wananga to memorise everything as their sacred duty. Starting at about twelve, these young men who were judged to have the ability, became the next generation of holders of the lore. They were corrected until perfect and retained the knowledge all their lives.

The first Europeans were amazed at how much the tohunga were able to recite, even up to 80 generations for Taonui who could name 4,000 ancestors, and be able to inter-relate the many lines that existed through marriage.

But the missionaries saw the tohunga as an obstacle to the work of the Christian teachings, and British settlers regarded those old ways as just another example of barbarism. A few educated European appreciated the traditional culture and were entrusted with whakapapa and stories from the past. But generally the work of the tohunga was rediculed and the result was a general withdrawal and lack of succession.

The very strength of the system required stringent discipline to memorise everything. The weakness was the very small number who were trained fully. Whare wananga do not seem to have survived after the 1840’s, e.g. the Rawheoro at Uawa held it’s last session in 1836.

The kaupapa of this website is to represent in one place as much whakapapa as possible. To correct inconsistencies we wish to include the most knowledgeable advisors available in each part of the country. Past scholars—both European and Māori—must be thanked for their efforts around 1900 to publish through the Polynesian Society Journal (JPS) and also the later authors of tribal histories.

We acknowledge all those who have helped save the past, and now we rely upon the computer to make the records available to all.

Our Purpose

  • To digitise all historical whakapapa records of Maori from earliest times down to 1825 (i.e. pre-European), thus ensuring the preservation of important cultural and historical resources.
  • To create an open source website that is free, non-commercial, and as comprehensive as possible that all Maori can benefit from spiritually, culturally and educationally.
  • To encourage individuals, whanau and hapu to contribute to this knowledge base, and connect more recent whakapapa (either open or closed access) 1840 to the present. We encourage the use of Tribal Pages for personal family whakapapa.
  • To appoint an expert Advisory Board to help ensure the database is as accurate as possible.



On the Whakapapa Māori Charitable Trust website we list everyone’s birthdate as a multiple of 25 years (i.e. 1700, 1725, 1750, etc.) except where we know the persons date of birth. Unless we know otherwise, we will list spouses with the same date of birth. As most spouses are only listed in most sources in …

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