Māui Pōmare

Biography

Maui Pomare

Māui Pōmare, of Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Toa, was born in 1875 or 1876. His mother, Mere Hautonga Nicoll, was the daughter of Kahe Te Rau-o-te-rangi, one of the few women to sign the Treaty of Waitangi.

His parents were followers of the pacifist prophets Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi, and sometimes resided at their Parihaka settlement. Pōmare was present at Parihaka when it was invaded by the Constabulary Field Force in 1881.

He was educated at Te Aute College, where he was taught about modern theories of hygiene, promoted by James Pope, the Inspector of Native Schools. He came to believe that many aspects of Māori culture conflicted with health and hygiene. This view did not appeal to traditional Māori leaders.

In 1893 Pōmare left to study in the United States. He attended the American Medical Missionary College in Chicago, and graduated MD in 1899, returning to New Zealand the following year.

In 1900 there were fears of a bubonic plague, and the government addressed the problem of substandard hygiene and housing in the main centres and rural Māori settlements. Pōmare became Māori Medical Officer in 1901. District Māori Councils were also set up to prepare regulations on sanitation and hygiene. Pōmare travelled widely, inspecting water supplies and sanitary arrangements, and advising the Māori Councils. He became a skilled speaker when visiting Māori communities, which helped him break through the conservative attitudes of many older tribal leaders. He actively sought to remove the influence of tohunga (traditional healers), and supported the Tohunga Suppression Act of 1907. He believed assimilation into Pākehā society presented the best hope for the Māori people.

After 1907 the government lost interest in health reform and cut back funding for the Māori Councils. As a result the Councils stopped much of their work, and Pōmare was transferred to the Native Department.

In 1911 he was elected to Parliament representing Western Māori. When Massey's Reform government came to power in 1912 he was made a member of the Executive Council representing Māori. He was unable to win major health reforms, although he tried hard to settle Taranaki land claims. He was knighted in 1922.

In 1923 he became Minister of Health. As Minister he introduced maternity hospitals and new medical techniques. This significantly reduced infant and maternal mortality among both Māori and Europeans.

Working with Apirana Ngata and others he was instrumental in setting up the Sim Commission, which inquired into land confiscations (raupatu) in 1927. The Commission, although working with limited terms of reference, upheld many longstanding grievances arising from the raupatu. Pōmare died in 1930.

Adapted from the DNZB biography by Graham Butterworth

Māui Wiremu Piti Naera Pōmare

Ka whānau mai a Māui Pōmare i te tau 1875, 1876 rānei. Ko ōna iwi ko Ngāti Mutunga me Ngāti Toa. Hei tamāhine tōna whāea a Mere Hautonga Nicoll nā Kahe Te Rau-o-te-rangi, tētahi o ngā wāhine tokoiti ka haina i te Tiriti o Waitangi. He pononga ōna mātua nā Te Whiti o Rongomai me Tohu Kākahi, ngā matakite mautohe mārire. I ētahi wā ka noho ōna mātua ki tō rātou kāinga kei Parihaka. I reira a Pōmare i te tau 1881 i te wā ka whakaekengia a Parihaka e ngā Pirihimana Mau Pū.

I kuraina a Pōmare ki te kāreti o Te Aute. I reira ka ākona ia ki ngā ariā hou mō te noho i runga i te mā, e whakahauhia rā e Te Pōpi (James Pope), te Kaititiro o ngā Kura Māori. Ka toko te whakaaro ki roto i a Pōmare kei te taupatupatu ngā tikanga a te Māori ki te hauora me te horoi. Kāore ētahi o ngā tohunga Māori i rata ki ana kōrero.

I te tau 1893 ka wehe a Pōmare ki te whai i te mātauranga ki Amerika. Ka kuhu a ia ki te Kāreti o Amerika mō ngā Tākuta Mihinare (American Medical Missionary College) i Chicago, ā, nō te tau 1899 ka puta ia i ana whakamātautau MD; nō te tau o muri ka hoki ia ki Aotearoa.

I te tau 1900 i te noho mataku a Aotearoa kei whakaekea e te mate piwa urutā. Ka tahuri te kāwanatanga ki te whakatika i te paru o te noho a te iwi Māori, tae noa ki te kino o te āhua o ngā whare i ngā tāone nui me ngā kāinga Māori. Ka eke a Pōmare hei Āpiha mō te Hauora Māori i te tau 1901. Ka whakatūria ngā kaunihera ā-rohe hei whakatakoto ritenga mō te noho paru kore. Ka takahi a Pōmare i te roa, i te whānui o te whenua ki te arotake i ngā wai mō ngā hapori, i ngā whakaritenga paru kore, ki te āwhina hoki i ngā Kaunihera ā-rohe. Ka tau ia ki te kōrero ki ngā huinga Māori; he āwhina nui tēnei mōna, mai kore ka ngāwari ngā kaumātua ki a ia me ana kaupapa. Ka whakapau kaha a ia kia tāmia te awe o ngā tohunga. Ka tautoko ia i te Ture Whakamutu Tohunga o te tau 1907. I tino whakapono a Pōmare, ka ora te iwi Māori mā te whai i ngā tikanga a tauiwi.

Whai muri i te tau 1907, ka mutu te aro nui a te kāwanatanga ki ngā āhuatanga hauora, ā, ka tapahia ngā tahua ki ngā Kaunihera Māori ā-rohe. Nāwai ā, ka mutu te nuinga o ngā mahi a ngā Kaunihera, ka tonoa a Pōmare ki te Tari mō ngā Take Māori mahi ai.

I te tau 1911 ka uru a Pōmare ki te Pāremata hei Mema Māori mō Te Tai Hau-ā-uru. Nō te tau 1912 ka kuhu ko te rōpū Riwhōma hei kāwanatanga, ka whakatūria a Pōmare ki te Rōpū Whiriwhiri hei kanohi mō te iwi Māori. Kāore i tutuki ana tūmanako kia whakarerekēngia te pūnaha hauora. Hāunga, i whakapau kaha ia ki te whakatau i ngā kerēme whenua i Taranaki.

I te tau 1923 ka tohungia ko ia hei Minita mō te Hauora. I tēnei wā, ka whakatūria ngā whare hōhipera whakawhānau pēpi, ka whakaurua mai ngā tikanga hou ki te whānuitanga o ngā kaupapa hauora. Kātahi ka iti ake te matemate o ngā kōhungahunga me ngā whaea, Māori mai, Pākehā mai.

Ka mahi tahi rāua ko Apirana Ngata kia tū te Kōmihana a Sim i te tau 1927 ki te rangahau i ngā raupatunga whenua. Ahakoa te whāiti o tana titiro, ka whakaae te Kōmihana ki te rahi o ngā kerēme ka pupū i ngā mahi raupatu i te whenua. Ka mate a Pōmare i te tau 1930.

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