Waitaha is an early historical Maori iwi (tribe or nation). Inhabitants of the South Island of New Zealand, they were largely absorbed via marriage and conquest first by the Kati Mamoe and then Ngai Tahu from the 16th century onward. Today those of Waitaha descent are represented by the Ngai Tahu iwi. Another iwi known as Waitaha are said to have lived in antiquity in the Horowhenua area of the lower North Island. In 1995 a book by Barry Brailsford, Song of Waitaha: The Histories of a Nation, claimed that the ancestors of the "Nation of Waitaha" were the first remembered inhabitants of New Zealand, three groups of people of different races, two of light complexion and one of dark complexion, who had arrived in New Zealand from an unspecified location in the Pacific, 67 generations before the book was written.
Contributions by Gadfium, GCaisle, and Snori.