maori leaders

Events In History


Māori King movement origins

  • Māori King movement origins

    In May 2008 Māori gathered at Ngāruawāhia to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Kīngitanga, or Māori King Movement. The current king, Te Arikinui Tūheitia Paki, was crowned in August 2006 following the death of his mother, Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

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  • Page 2 – Overview

    On 23 May 2006 the Māori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, celebrated the 40th jubilee of her coronation. She was the sixth Māori monarch and the longest-serving.

  • Page 3 – The land issue

    Pressure to sell land was a key factor in the creation of the Kīngitanga. Before European settlement Māori had no concept of selling land and few chiefs had the authority to

  • Page 4 – In search of a king

    The Kīngitanga has often been described as a Waikato initiative, yet its origins can be traced to Ōtaki on the Kāpiti Coast.

  • Page 5 – Pōtatau Te Wherowhero

    In April 1857, at Rangiriri, Pōtatau agreed to become king. He was crowned and anointed at Ngāruawāhia in June 1858.

  • Page 6 – A challenge to European authority?

    Pōtatau established a boundary between the territory in which his authority held sway and that of the governor: 'Let Maungatautari [River] be our boundary. Do not encroach on

Māori King movement - 1860-94

  • Māori King movement - 1860-94

    King Tāwhiao's reign was dominated by the Waikato War and the fallout from it.

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  • Page 2 – Build-up to war

    Like his father, King Tāwhiao had no intention of becoming involved in the war in Taranaki. The government, however, remained unconvinced of this. In July 1860 Governor Gore

  • Page 3 – Response to war

    The invasion of Waikato unified the factions within the Kīngitanga, whose forces won some victories despite being at an overwhelming disadvantage in terms of manpower and

  • Page 4 – Raupatu

    Under the terms of the New Zealand Settlements Act 1863 the government confiscated huge areas of Māori land in late 1864.

  • Page 5 – Maintaining Te Kīngitanga

    By the early 1870s, the Kīngitanga was struggling. Living conditions within the Rohe Potae (the Māori King's territory) were poor. Allies such as Ngāti Hauā had resumed selling

  • Page 6 – Tensions ease

    It was clear by the 1870s that the Kīngitanga could no longer fight a war. Attempts were made to ease relations between the king and the colonial government.

  • Page 7 – The death of Tāwhiao

    Tāwhiao died on 26 August 1894. He was buried at Taupiri after a tangihanga attended by thousands.

Treaty biographies

The 1920s

  • The 1920s

    The 1920s was the decade that modern New Zealand came of age. Despite political and economic uncertainty, the country shrugged off the gloom of war to embrace the Jazz Age - an era of speed, power and glamour. Explore an overview of the decade and a year-by-year breakdown of key events.

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  • Page 4 - 1921 - key eventsA selection of key New Zealand events from

The 1960s

  • The 1960s

    Five decades ago most Kiwis enjoyed a standard of living that was the envy of other nations. During the 1960s the arrival of TV and jet airliners shrank our world, and New Zealanders began to express themselves on a range of international issues, including opposition to the Vietnam War.

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  • Page 9 - 1966 - key eventsA selection of the key events in New Zealand history from

New Zealand's 19th-century wars

  • New Zealand's 19th-century wars

    War changed the face of New Zealand in the 19th century. Many thousands of Māori died in the intertribal Musket Wars between the 1810s and the 1830s. There were more deaths during the New Zealand Wars of the 1840s to 1870s between some Māori and the Crown, which for many tribes had dire consequences.

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  • Page 6 - NZ Wars flagsMany Maori in the 19th century saw the Union Jack as a potent symbol of Great Britain's power in New Zealand. In the New Zealand Wars, Maori who resisted government forces often


  • Kaihau, Hēnare

    Hēnare Kaihau become deeply interested in Māori politics, and strongly supported the King movement, becoming a principal adviser to Mahuta, the third Māori King.

  • Māngakahia, Hāmiora

    Coromandel chief, Hāmiora Mangakāhia, was elected Premier of the Kotahitanga (Māori) Parliament in 1892. He petitioned for the abolition of colonial laws relating to Māori land, and asked that Māori be allowed to control their own affairs.

  • Maniapoto, Rewi Manga

    A famous Ngāti Maniapoto warrior, leader and supporter of the King Movement who's exploits in the Waikato War have been immortalised in book and film.

  • Matua, Hēnare

    Ngāti Kahungunu chief Hēnare Matua was leader of the repudiation movement, which questioned land sales that it believed had been undertaken fraudulently.

  • Nene, Tāmati Wāka

    Renowned Ngāpuhi chief, Tāmati Wāka Nene, was an early friend of Pākehā. He was one of its most influential supporters in the debate at Waitangi over the Treaty and he was among the first to sign.

  • Ngāpua, Hōne Heke

    Hōne Heke Ngāpua was elected to Parliament in 1893 and represented the people of Northern Māori almost continuously until his death in 1909.

  • Ngātata, Wiremu Tako

    Te Āti Awa leader Wiremu Tako Ngātata was one of the first Māori members of the Legislative Council. He opposed legislation threatening Māori possession of land.

  • Nireaha Tāmaki

    Nireaha Tāmaki, of Rangitāne and Ngāti Kahungunu, is perhaps best known for his bitter struggle to retain lands within the large Mangatainoka block, which the government was determined to purchase for railway construction.

  • Ormsby, John

    As chairman of the Kāwhia committee, John Ormsby worked on behalf of Ngāti Maniapoto in negotiations with the Native Land Court.

  • Parata, Wiremu Te Kākākura

    Elected to Parliament as the member for Western Māori in 1871, Wiremu Parata, took part in several high-profile court claims over Māori land.

  • Pere, Wiremu

    Wi Pere was a strong critic of the government's Maori land policies during his 15 years as a Member of Parliament for Eastern Maori

  • Pomare

    Pōmare II was a prominent Ngāpuhi chief who signed the Treaty of Waitangi. He was later arrested by the British on suspicion of treason but released on the intervention of Tāmati Wāka Nene.

  • Taiwhanga, Hirini Rawiri

    Son of Rawiri Taiwhanga, Hirini Taiwhanga petitioned Queen Victoria to change the laws that breached the Treaty of Waitangi.

  • Takamoana, Karaitiana

    Influential Ngāti Kahungunu chief who fought in the Musket Wars during the 1820s, and later entered Parliament as a member for Eastern Māori. 

  • Taonui, Aperahama

    Aperahama Taonui, of the Te Popoto sub-tribe of Ngāpuhi, was a founding member of the Kotahitanga movement, which evolved into the Māori parliaments of the 1890s.

  • Taraia Ngakuti Te Tumuhuia

    Ngāti Maru and Ngati Tamaterā chief who rejected the intrusion of Europeans in the traditional Māori world.

  • Tāwhai, Hōne Mohi

    A member of the House of Representatives, Hōne Mohi Tāwhai became disillusioned in the settler-dominated Parliament and helped set up an alternative Māori Kotahitanga Parliament.

  • Tāwhiao, Tukaroto Potatau Matutaera

    Tāwhiao's father Pōtatau was the first Māori King, and on his death in 1860 Tāwhiao inherited the kingship and the spiritual leadership of his people. He was king for the next 34 years, including the most turbulent period in New Zealand's race relations history.

  • Te Hāpuku

    Hawke's Bay chief, Te Hāpuku, signed the 1835 Declaration of Independence and the Treaty of Waitangi. He opposed the King Movement fought against the Hauhau and Te Kooti.

  • Te Heuheu Tūkino III, Iwikau

    A paramount chief of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Iwikau Te Heuheu was an ardent proponent of Māori nationalism, supporting the movement to set up a Māori king.

  • Te Heuheu Tūkino IV, Horonuku

    Horonuku Te Heuheu Tūkino IV succeeded his uncle, Iwikau, as paramount chief of Ngāti Tūwharetoa. He gifted the mountains of Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu to the Crown in 1887 to be part of a national park.

  • Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki

    Te Kooti fought on the government side in the New Zealand Wars before being exiled to the Chatham Islands on charges of espionage. He later escaped back to the mainland and fought a long guerilla war against government forces.

  • Te Pahi

    Ngāpuhi chief Te Pahi was the first influential Māori leader to have significant contact with British colonial officers.

  • Te Rangihiwinui, Te Keepa

    Muaūpoko, Ngāti Apa and Whanganui chief who joined the Armed Police Force and fought in campaigns against the Hauhau, Te Kooti and Tītokowaru during the 1860s.

  • Te Rangi-pūawhe, Te Keepa

    As a major in the New Zealand Militia, Te Keepa Te Rangi-pūawhe led a contingent of the Te Arawa tribe, which pursued the rebel leader Te Kooti into the Urewera region.

  • Te Rangitake

    Te Ati Awa leader Wiremu Kīngi Te Rangitāke's refusal to give up his land at Waitara led to the outbreak of the Taranaki War. In later life joined the pacifist community at Parihaka.

  • Te Rauparaha

    Te Rauparaha was a Ngāti Toa chief and warrior. Sometimes called the 'Napoleon of the Southern Hemisphere', he ruled the lower end of the North Island from his base at Kapiti Island for the best part of 20 years

  • Te Waharoa, Wiremu Tāmihana Tarapipipi

    Ngāti Hauā chief who took a leading role in forming the King Movement (Kīngitanga) and the election of Pōtatau Te Wherowhero as the first Māori King.

  • Te Wheoro, Wiremu Te Morehu Maipapa

    Wiremu Te Wheoro (?–1895) was a chief of Ngāti Naho. He was a stern critic of government policies toward Māori, accompanying King Tāwhiao to England in 1884, where they tried to appeal directly to Queen Victoria for the redress of grievances.

  • Te Wherowhero, Pōtatau

    In the 1850s, a movement was set up to appoint a Māori king who would unite the tribes, protect land from further sales and make laws for Māori to follow. Te Wherowhero became the first Māori king in 1858.

  • Wahanui Huatare

    Ngāti Maniapoto leader, Wahanui Huatare, was a notable tohunga (Māori spiritual expert) and an influential chief.

  • Wahawaha, Rāpata

    Ngāti Porou leader Rāpata Wahawaha opposed the Pai Mārire religion and sided with the government against its followers. He was later presented with a ceremonial sword by Queen Victoria for services to the Crown during the New Zealand Wars.

  • Carroll, Alfred (Turi)

    Turi Carroll put much of his energy into national Māori organisations.

  • Te Rata Mahuta Tāwhiao Pōtatau Te Wherowhero Korokō

    The fifth Māori King, Korokī Te Rata Mahuta Tāwhiao Pōtatau Te Wherowhero struggled to maintain the dignity of the Kīngitanga and obtain recognition during his reign.

  • Māwhete, Rangiputangatahi

    Involved in local and national politics, Rangiputangatahi Māwhete, worked hard for Māori in the Manawatū during the 1930s and 1940s. He was particularly active in the Māori War Effort Organisation during the Second World War.

  • Mitchell, Henry Taiporutu Te Mapu-o-te-rangi

    Te Arawa leader Tai Mitchell carried out a wide range of social and economic activities as chairman of the Arawa Trust Board. He was a firm supporter of Āpirana Ngata's land development schemes, and helped persuade Te Arawa to participate in them.

  • Paikea, Paraire Karaka

    Te Uri-o-Hau Methodist minister and Rātana leader, Paraire Paikea, played a leading role in forging the historic alliance between the Rātana movement and the Labour Party. He was minister in charge of the Māori war effort during the Second World War.

  • Pōmare, Māui Wiremu Piti Naera

    Māui Pōmare was the first Māori doctor. As Māori Medical Officer, toured Māori districts in this role, advising people about public health. Pōmare became a member of Parliament in 1911, and minister of health in the 1920s.

  • Rata, Matiu

    As minister of Māori affairs Matiu Rata helped set up the Waitangi Tribunal in 1975. He later left the Labour Party to form Mana Motuhake, the first modern Māori politcal party.

  • Rātana, Tahupōtiki Wiremu

    Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana, of Ngāti Apa and Ngā Rauru, founded the Rātana Church, which remains a major religious and political force today.

  • Rickard, Eva

    Eva Rickard was one of the most outspoken Māori land-rights campaigners of the 1970s.

  • Te Heuheu Tūkino VI, Hoani

    As chairman of the Ngāti Tuwharetoa Trust Board, Hoani Te Heuheu, advised Ngāti Tūwharetoa on taking stock of its resources, both land and people, and planning a future based on economic and social principles.

  • Te Kawau, Āpihai

    Te Kawau was a Ngāti Whātua leader who signed the Treaty of Waitangi at Manukau Harbour in March 1840. He later worked with European magistrates to settle disputes among Māori.

  • Te Ua Haumēne

    In 1862 Te Ua Haumēne established a new religion, Hauhau based on the principle of pai marire – goodness and peace. Most settlers viewed Hauhau as a anti-European religion that became synonymous with ‘violence, fanaticism and barbarism’.

  • Rātana, Iriaka Matiu

    The first Māori woman to be elected to Parliament, Iriaka Matiu Rātana was a passionate advocate for the welfare of her people.

  • Mangakāhia, Meri Te Tai

    Meri Mangakāhia petitioned the government on land rights and argued for women’s suffrage, and actively participated in the Kotahitanga movement, the Māori parliament based at Pāpāwai, Wairarapa. 


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