Ngāi Tahu – Cultural Mapping Project


David Higgins

David Higgins at Te Kaihinaki (Moeraki Boulders), 2017. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Collection, Ngāi Tahu Archive, 2017-0271

David Higgins resides at his home kāika of Moeraki where he is the Upoko of his local marae. David grew up at Moeraki where his mother, Marama, was a well-known primary school teacher who taught many of the local Māori and Pākehā children. The whānau have been involved in the New Zealand fishing industry since the early days of whaling and sealing, and David worked as a commercial fisherman out of Moeraki. 

David’s involvement in tribal matters began when he became the Arowhenua Board member on the Ngaitahu Maori Trust Board, where he spent 13 years as the Arowhenua representative. David was part of the Trust Board when it lodged the Ngāi Tahu Claim with the Waitangi Tribunal in 1986. During the proceedings of the Ngāi Tahu Claim, David was largely responsible for gathering and presenting much of the fisheries evidence that was presented to the Tribunal.

In 2000 David was appointed as the Kaupapa Atawhai Manager for the Canterbury Conservancy of the Department of Conservation. During this tenure he assisted in establishing the Ngāi Tahu Cultural Mapping Project, and was one of the first people to provide material to map the Ngāi Tahu historical footprint throughout the South Island High Country.

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