He iwi rangatira anō tātou i mua, kia pai te whakahaere o ngā tikanga mō te iwi. Kia mangu ki waho kia mā i roto
This thesis contends that tapu (spiritual and physical boundaries), mana (power and authority), utu (reciprosity) and rūnanga (debate and decision-making) were the four pou (guiding principles) which delegated power and determined leadership roles and responsibilities, within the social structures of the Waikato people. It describes how these pou informed the tribe when embarking on major activities, resolving disagreements and addressing failures. It investigates how the pou fared after the descendants of Tainui waka (canoe) suffered a relatively sudden and devastating reversal of fortunes following the colonisation of Aotearoa (New Zealand) by British settlers in the nineteenth century.
The thesis describes and analyses the formation and influence of the Kīngitanga (King Movement) from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Including Kīngitanga relations with the Government after its invasion and confiscation of Waikato lands and the 1995 settlement which established Te Kauhanganui (Tribal Council), a legal entity to manage the returned settlement assets. The thesis investigates the extent to which the pou are incorporated or threatened by structures within Te Kauhanganui. The pou have a pervasive influence on the personnel and practice of leadership and its accountabilities in Waikato. At stake is control of significant tribal assets, and an opportunity to restore a rūnanga system that represents and engages Waikato people.