Historical Research Division

The Historical Research Division (HRD) works on investigating the colonial and modern histories of Ngāi Tahu, Māori, and the global indigenous community with a focus on what historical lessons can be learned from cultures world-wide to improve the quality of life in Ngāi Tahu and Māori communities today. The HRD brings together a diverse team of researchers with experience in the public service and academia from the fields of history, indigenous studies, law, political science and economics.

The central focus of the HRD is applying insights derived from the Ngāi Tahu (and more widely, Māori) historical experience to current challenges for Ngai Tahu, Maori, and other indigenous peoples in the global community around the economy, the environment, the law and the political system. While the HRD’s focus is on Ngāi Tahu, Māori, and the global indigenous community’s socio-economic development, the lessons learned and histories investigated will be just as much use to non-indigenous parts of NZ society and the rest of the world. Like the CRD, the HRD’s work seeks to help Māori communities with cultural and financial autonomy, resilience and progress but is also asserting the importance of indigenous values and knowledge to the most crucial issues of the modern world.  


Current Projects



Past Projects and Publications

Māori Marine Econony | A Review of literature concerning the historical and contemporary structure of the Māori marine economy

The Sustainable Seas research team led by Dr John Reid and Dr Jason Mika have identified five key factors that will drive growth of the Māori marine economy:

  • the continued development of Māori customary rights;
  • integration of hapū and whanau into iwi and pan-iwi economic activity;
  • an integrated value chain where as many elements as possible are owned by Māori;
  • branding and marketing that is inspired by hapū and iwi stories, symbols and designs which communicate their whakapapa and connection to tipuna and whenua;
  • that provenance and authentication and traceability are communicated to the consumer in a way that is grounded in tikanga Maori.

These key success factors are discussed in a recently published literature review which was produced as part of their project which aims to create the foundation for a world leading indigenous blue economy in New Zealand.  

Dr Mika and Dr Reid and a team of interdisciplinary researchers (Matthew Rout, Hekia BodwitchAnnemarie Gillies, Billie LythbergDan HikuroaLeane MakeyShaun AwatereFiona WiremuMylene RakenaKate Davies) examined over 150 articles and reports to produce the review.  

The team welcome feedback on the literature review and plan to publish an updated version at the end of the project.