In the ancient Māori society, before the arrival of the Pākehā (colonialists) a whānau consisted of the kaumātua (tribal elders), senior adults such as parents, uncles and aunts, and the sons and daughters together with their partners and children. Large whānau lived in their own compound in the pā (village) Whānau also had their own gardening plots and their own fishing and hunting spots. The whānau was economically self-sufficient. In warfare, it supported the iwi (tribe) or a hapū (sub-tribe or clan).
A hapū comprises a number of whānau (extended family) groups