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The earliest recorded settlers in Hamilton were Māori from the Tainui waka. It was the Tainui people who named an area on the west bank of the Waikato River Kirikiriroa (long stretch of gravel). The area was later renamed Hamilton after Captain John Hamilton.

The Hamilton area has a history of 700-800 years of Māori occupation and settlement, highlighted by pa sites, traditional gardens and agricultural features along the Waikato River. The main hapū (sub-tribes) of Hamilton and the surrounding area are Ngati Wairere, Ngati Haua and Ngati Mahanga.

Māori continue to be a significant social and economic player in the Waikato region. Wintec enjoys, and is committed to, maintaining close working relationships with Tainui in particular and works proactively to increase Māori student participation and success.