Sir Tipene O’Regan, 1939-

Ngāi Tahu kaumatua Sir Tipene O’Regan spent many years leading the tribe’s development and negotiating Te Kerēme - their Treaty of Waitangi claim.

Tipene O’ Regan’s plaque reads:

"Rakatira, kaumatua, writer, orator and teacher, principal negotiator of the Ngēi Tahu Settlement, which brought many positive results for all of Canterbury"

Early life

The only child of a Ngāi Tahu mother (Rena), and an Irish father (Rolland), Sir Tipene was educated in Wellington, although he spent significant time as a child at Bluff with his Ngāi Tahu grandmother.

Ngāi Tahu negotiator

After a career as a teacher and academic he joined the Ngāi Tahu Trust Board. For more than 30 years he travelled the country in the interests of the tribe, becoming known as Te takata heare po - the one who travels at night.

This work included 230 formal presentations to parliamentary select committees and leading programmes of investment and economic development in land, property and fisheries by Ngāi Tahu.

As the national voice of Ngāi Tahu his work culminated in the settlement of the treaty claim in 1998.


Tipene O’Regan was knighted in 1994.

He has continued involvement in business and academia including as founding chairman of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission, and as the first University of Canterbury Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Māori).

He is Upoko (traditional head) of the Awarua Runanga of Ngāi Tahu.


Photos of the Tipene O'Regan bust

Tipene O


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