Iwi mean tribes in Maori language. In New Zealand, iwi are the largest social and political groups in Maori society. Traditionally, iwi consist of many hapu which refers to descent groups or sub tribes. Inside one tribe, different hapu may have conflicts against each other. But when other tribes invade, the hapu in one tribe will hold together fighting against the enemies.
As Maori’s ancestor was first come from Hawaiki using waka, which refers to canoe, according to the Maori mythology, iwi were originally formed by offspring of different waka groups. However, while some tribes were established from a single canoe, others were formed from several canoes. For example, the Waikato tribe is from Tainui canoe but Ngapuhi tribe belongs to the Matawhaorua, Ngatokimatawhaorua and Mataatua wakas.…show more content… On the one hand, as the population of Maori grew, new iwi emerged continuously. One the other hand, as the expanse of urbanization, many Maori lose touch with their original iwi and their Maori identities are also undermined.
However, no one can deny the importance of iwi to temporary New Zealand. First of all, most Maori live a tribal lifestyle and bond with each other by tribes. In addition, as iwi are currently a main political body in New Zealand, tribe trust boards are built based on iwi to deal with issues under the Treaty of Waitangi.