East Cape

Driftwood fringed beaches jut up against towering cliffs and deserted roads. Spectacular vistas lie around every corner. This is the East Cape. It was here that Captain Cook landed back in the 18th century, and it was also here that some of the first Māori wakas (canoes) landed over eight hundred years ago. New Zealand was one of the last habitable landmasses on earth to remain unpeopled until the arrival of our ancestors.


Māori Land Ownership

Our partnerships with other Māori landowners are very important to Watson & Son.

Traditionally, Māori land was occupied rather than ‘owned’. Ahi-kā-roa in Māori means the long burning fires of occupation. If a group was strong enough to defend themselves against challenges they could keep their fires burning!

When European settlers came to New Zealand they wanted to own pieces of land and over time the settler government made a law to convert Māori land ownership into individual blocks with ‘owners’.

As the loss of land became widespread, Māori looked for ways to retain land, and to develop structures to manage land more effectively. These structures were needed because Māori owners increasingly owned scattered interests in numerous blocks of land.

Over time many Māori land owners joined together to form trusts or incorporations to manage their land. Today we are proud to partner with some of these groups to provide employment and resource for Māori and protect the taonga tuku iho (treasures of our heritage) for future generations.

Backhouse, John Philemon, 1845-1908 :[Maori village scene. ca 1880]. Backhouse, John Philemon 1845-1908 :New Zealand scenery; original oil paintings [ca 1880]. Ref: E-053-012. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22729022


Sir Tamati Reedy

Emeritus Professor Sir Tamati Reedy is a professional educationalist, academic, and former top public servant with an MA in English and an MA and PhD in linguistics. He is also Chairman of Kaitoto Waipiro A13 Incorporation - which administers over 1,4000 hectares of Māori land in the Tairāwhiti/East Coast Region of New Zealand.

Sir Tamati has dedicated his life to the advancement of Māori and credits much of his success to strong values instilled by his Ngāti Porou East Coast upbringing.

"I was brought up by my grandparents on a farm in the isolated Maraehara Valley, Tikitiki. Our whānau spoke Māori and life centred on the ethic of hard work. I remember my grandmother for her kindness. My grandfather’s saying was, "Haere ki te kuhu i a koe. Takahia te ao. Travel and learn to stand on your own two feet."

Sir Tamati has spent many years fighting for the economic and cultural well-being of his people. Now together with Watson & Son, he is working to see a bright future for local iwi through the management and protection of their Mānuka resource.

Sir Tamati Reedy is Chairman of Te Oranganui, a charitable trust set up within Watson & Son group for the development of partnership in and ownership by Māori in the business. He is responsible for the development of the Māori partnerships we have.