Rangiputangatahi Māwhete

Biography

Rangiputangatahi Māwhete
Rangiputangatahi Mawhete

Rangiputangatahi Māwhete (1880–1961) was born at Jackeytown, south of Palmerston North. His main tribal affiliation was Rangitāne, although he had links to Muaūpoko, Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Te Ūpokoiri, Ngāti Hāmua and other Wanganui tribes.

He was educated at Te Aute College, and worked as an interpreter and land agent. He joined the Labour Party, and in 1925 he and other tribal representatives formed a Labour Maori Advisory Committee. Their report was later adopted as Labour's Māori policy. It dealt with rating problems, settlement of land claims, reform of the Māori electoral process and the establishment of a Māori council to advise government on Māori issues. Māwhete was the Labour candidate for Western Māori in the 1925 elections, but was heavily defeated by Māui Pōmare.

Māwhete did not stand in the 1928 election, but is thought to have helped plan policies for the Rātana movement. These were similar to Labour's Māori programme. After 1928 Māwhete concentrated on gaining cooperation between the Rātana movement and Labour. In the end, he succeeded. By 1943 all four Māori seats had been won by Rātana/Labour candidates.

In 1936 he was appointed to the Legislative Council. He continued to support the Labour government’s social welfare reforms. But he was less enthusiastic about other policies which he saw as inconsistent with the Treaty of Waitangi. He energetically promoted Māori Treaty rights during debates on the nationalisation of petroleum, lake and seabed ownership, the Waikato land confiscations and issues about the Whanganui River. Māwhete was appointed an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in 1959. He died in 1961.

Adapted from the DNZB biography by Claudia Orange

Rangiputangatahi Mawhete

I whānau mai a Rangi Mawhete (1880-1961) i Tiakitahuna (Jackeytown) i te tonga o Te Papa-i-oea. Ko tōna iwi nui ko Rangitāne, engari ka tātai ia ki Muaūpoko, Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Te Ūpokoiri, Ngāti Hāmua, tae atu ki ngā iwi o Wanganui.

I kuraina ia ki te kāreti o Te Aute, kātahi ka mahi hei kaiwhakamārama reo ā-waha, hei āpiha hoko whenua. Ka uru ia hei mema o te Rōpū Reipa, ā, i te tau 1925 ka whakatūria e rātou ko ētahi atu mema Māori tētahi Komiti Tohutohu i a Reipa mō ngā Take Māori. Nāwai ā, ka riro ko tā rātou pūrongo te kaupapa here a Reipa mō te Māori. Ka kōrerohia e tēnei pūrongo ngā raruraru e pā ana ki te utu reiti, te whakataunga o ngā kerēme whenua, te whakapai ake i ngā tikanga pōti Māori, me te whakatū i tētahi kaunihera Māori hei tohu i te kāwanatanga mō ngā take Māori. Ko Mawhete te tangata a Reipa i te tūru Māori o Te Tai Hau-ā-uru i te pōti o te tau 1925. Ka hinga a ia ki a Māui Pōmare.

Kāore a Mawhete i tū i te pōti o te tau 1928, engari e whakaarotia ana i whai wāhi ia ki ngā kaupapa here a te rōpū Rātana. He āhua rite ēnei kaupapa here ki ā Reipa. Whai muri i te tau 1928 ka whakapau kaha a Mawhete kia piri tahi a Reipa me te rōpū Rātana. I te mutunga iho, ka tutuki tana wawata. Kia tae ki te tau 1943 kua riro i a Reipa/Rātana ngā tūru Māori e whā.

I te tau 1936 ka tohungia a ia ki te Kaunihera Ture. Ka tautoko tonu a ia i ngā kaupapa toko i te ora a Reipa. Engari kāore ia i rata ki ētahi o ā rātou kaupapa here, hei ko tāna, ka taupatupatu ēnei ki te Tiriti o Waitangi. Kaha ia ki te whakaputa i ngā tika a te Māori i raro i te Tiriti i ngā tautohetohe mō te rironga o ngā papa kapuni, te mana ki runga i ngā roto me te takere o ngā wai, ngā whenua i Waikato i raupatutia, ngā take hoki e pā ana ki te awa o Wanganui. I te tau 1959 ka whakawhiwhia a Mawhete ki te tohu o te Emepaea o Peretānia (OBE). Nō te tau 1961 ka mate ia.

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