Ngāi Tai have a long, unbroken genealogy and occupation of their lands, waters and seas extending from the aboriginal Polynesian settlers, pre-dating the Hawaiiki immigrants. The symbol best describing this is the taonga currently residing in the Auckland Museum, being a fossil human footprint dating from the founding eruption of Rangitoto 600 years ago and discovered on Motutapu island. A place long held sacred to Ngāi Tai for their myriad waahi tapu and association with the Tupua at that place.

Smaller footprints remind us of the many descendants & mokopuna, who have crossed this region over such a long period of time. Larger footprints remind us of our high-born chiefly lines (ariki) and ancestors. These remind us how important those leaders were and their value as navigators in our history.

Even our tribal name resounds with our history as a people unencumbered by any normal sense of boundaries. Where our vision was only limited by our imagination. It was the same vision, honed by thousands of years of exploration, facing the challenge of crossing the world’s greatest ocean for survival. These descendants of Maui today carry his DNA and values into the new world of Ngai Tai, true inheritors and worthy recipients of a boundless legacy left by the ancients and their numerous descendants.

Two contemporary stories exist and are well known that reflect Ngati Tai & Ngai Tai arrival and existence within Tamaki. The first is known as 'Te Tuhi O Manawatere' or the 'Mark of Omanawatere'. The second is the story of three Ngai Tai sisters who resettled in Tamaki after departing Torere. This is known as 'Te Heke o ngā Tokotoru' (the migration of the three).