Waikato–Tainui was the first iwi to reach an historial Treaty of Waitangi settlement with the Crown for injustices going back to the 1860s. The Deed of Settlement included cash and land valued at a total of $170 million.
Eva Rickard, of Tainui, was born in 1925 at Te Kopua, Raglan. She is perhaps best known for leading the Raglan golf course protest. During World War II Te Kopua was destroyed to make way for an aerodrome, and the Maori landowners were evicted. After the war the land was not returned to its Maori owners, but instead was turned into a golf course. Eva Rickard led a long struggle to win back the land; in 1978 she was arrested for a sit-in protest. Television images of her arrest were a defining moment in the struggle.
Te Puea Hērangi (1883–1952) was a granddaughter of Tāwhiao Te Wherowhero, the second Māori King. Her uncle Mahuta, who became King after Tāwhiao, singled her out in childhood as having special abilities. He spent many hours with her, passing on his knowledge. She was to become a crucial figure in reviving the Kīngitanga (King Movement) among Tainui people in the twentieth century.
The first part of Te Wherowhero's adult life was spent almost constantly at war as his Waikato tribe drove Te Rauparaha's Ngāti Toa out of its Kāwhia homeland, defended its own land against repeated attacks from Northland's Ngā Puhi and made repeated attacks on the Taranaki tribes. (Read more about the 'Musket Wars').
In his recruitment waiata, 'Te ope tuatahi', Ngata made it clear that the replacement recruits that he and his colleagues had raised all came from the East Coast tribes of Mahaki, Hauiti, Ngati Porou, Te Arawa and Kahungunu.
Tukaroto Matutaera Potatau Te Wherowhero Tawhiao, about 1880 Tawhiao, of the Tainui hapu (sub-tribe) Ngati Mahuta, was born at the end of the Musket Wars between Tainui and Ngapuhi. He was a Christian, was well versed in the ancient rites of the Tainui tribe, and had the status of a prophet.