1931 – 2006, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, MAORI Queen – New Zealand

Breaking News: Maori Queen Dies At Turangawaiwai, Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 7:40 pm. (See the whole article on Scoop).

WELLINGTON (Reuters) — Tens of thousands of New Zealanders gathered today to bury the Maori queen, one of the country’s most respected indigenous leaders, and celebrate the inauguration of her son as her successor. The tribal home of Dame Te Atairangikaahu, who died of kidney failure last Tuesday, aged 75, was overflowing as Maori of many tribes, New Zealand and Pacific political leaders, and many others of different races attended her funeral ceremony. (Read all on Canada.com).
Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu - MAORI Queen.jpg

1931 – 2006, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, MAORI Queen – New Zealand

See also on August 22 all fresh reports about the funerails: Taipei Times; Radio New Zealand; BBCnews pictures of the funerails; NZherald.co.nz; TimesOnline; TVnz.co.nz; and at this moment 301 other news related on GoogleNews;

Read: MTS Live Coverage of Maori Queen’s Funeral, 21 August 2006.

Dame Te Atairangikaahu ONZ, DBE, (23 July 1931 – 15 August 2006) was the Māori Queen for 40 years, the longest reign of any Māori monarch. Her full name and title was Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Her title Te Arikinui (meaning Great Chief) and name Te Atairangikaahu (also her mother’s name) were bestowedwhen she became monarch; previously she was known as Princess Piki Mahuta and Princess Piki Paki, after marriage.

The Art of Maori Weaving – Stunning new book on weaving launched by Maori Queen in San Francisco. Media Release 8 August 2005.

She was the only birth child of Koroki Mahuta and Te Atairangikaahu Herangi; her father had an older daughter, Tuura, by an earlier relationship. Dame Te Atairangikaahu had adopted siblings including Sir Robert Mahuta, whose daughter Nanaia Mahuta is a member of Parliament. Dame Te Atairangikaahu was a descendant of the first Māori King, Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, and succeeded her father, King Koroki, becoming Queen the day Koroki was buried.[1] She married Whatumoana Paki, a farmer, and they had seven children.

The office of the Māori Monarch holds no constitutional function, but Te Atairangikaahu was an avid supporter of cultural and sporting events and commonly appeared in a figurehead role at locally held, international political events involving indigenous issues. Her official residence was Turongo House in Turangawaewae. In 1970, she became the first Māori to be made a Dame, specifically a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.[2] She was one of the first inductees of the Order of New Zealand when it was established in 1987. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Waikato University in 1973, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Victoria University in 1999. In December 2005, she started dialysis treatment when her kidneys began to fail.[3] On 11 July 2006, Te Atairangikaahu suffered a possible heart attack and was admitted to intensive care in Waikato Hospital, Hamilton.[4] She was discharged from hospital later in the month, in time to celebrate her 75th birthday.[5] Te Atairangikaahu died on 15 August 2006 at her official residence, Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia.[6][7] Six of her children were present, with another daughter attempting to return from Australia.[8] Her death sparked a week of mourning for Māoridom leading to her funeral on 21 August 2006.[9][1] She is buried on Taupiri mountain in an unmarked grave, as are her predecessors, as a sign of equality with their people. [10]

  • a b “Traditional mourning period begins for Maori queen”, Irish Examiner, 2006-08-16. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
  • “Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu dies, age 75″, Radio New Zealand, 2006-08-15. Retrieved on 2006-08-15.
  • “Maori queen on dialysis”, NZ Herald, 2006-01-06. Retrieved on 2006-07-30.
  • Jon, Stokes, “Maori Queen in intensive care after heart attack”, NZ Herald, 2006-07-12. Retrieved on 2006-07-12.
  • “Maori Queen home for birthday”, NZ Herald, 2006-07-23. Retrieved on 2006-07-30.
  • “Maori Queen dies after 40 years on the throne”, NZ Herald, 2006-08-15. Retrieved on 2006-08-15.
  • “Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu, Queen of New Zealand’s Maori”, Washington Post, 2006-08-16. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
  • “Dame Te Ata busy to the end”, Susan Pepperell and Yvonne Tahana, stuff.co.nz, 2006-08-16. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
  • “Aug 21 funeral scheduled for Maori Queen of New Zealand”, Antara News, 2006-08-16. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
  • “Public’s final tribute to Maori Queen”, TVNZ. Retrieved on 2006-08-20.
  • “Four decades of our kind of queen; THEY SAY”, The Dominion Post, 2006-05-27. Retrieved on 2006-08-15.
  • “New Zealand mourns Maori queen”, Sydney Morning Herald, 2006-08-16. Retrieved on 2006-08-16. (See more on wikipedia).

FOR a reigning monarch, Dame Te Ata surely hailed from one of the most humble backgrounds. She was born in a reed hut with a dirt floor, which was heated and lit purely by fires from kerosene tins. But Dame Te Ata ended her 75-year life as the richest Maori woman, with a fortune worth more than £3 million. Unusually for a family of that generation, she was an only child. The labour was so exhausting for Te Atairangikaahu, Te Ata’s mother, that her father, King Koroki, vowed there would be no more children for fear it would kill his wife. Te Ata was only the seventh Maori sovereign as the practice – kingitanga – was started in direct response to the threat of British colonisation in 1858. The period marked the country’s bloodiest land wars, with the indigenous Maori having more than one million acres of land seized by the white settlers. When Te Ata was just two, her grandfather died and her father was crowned king. He ruled for the next 33 years.The young Te Ata was later educated at Diocesan School, in Hamilton, a private girls’ school, where she excelled at sport – particularly fencing and swimming and had her first taste of authority as house captain and prefect. The move from an all-Maori environment to an almost totally all-Pakeha (white New Zealander) one was difficult, she said in a rare 2003 interview published in Mana magazine. “It was quite traumatic. I wasn’t used to being around Pakeha. It took me a few years to settle down,” she said. The young Te Ata’s ability to overcome her culture shock would prove useful when she was catapulted onto the world stage, dining with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton and Japan’s Emperor Akihito. As a girl, she was mentored by Princess Te Puea Herangi, her great aunt and the legendary leader of the Waikato tribe. She had a relatively carefree existence for one who was to shoulder such responsibility; socialising with friends and even working in a department store. But Princess Te Puea’s firm grip often caused clashes with the independent-minded Te Ata. She rejected attempts by her great-aunt to arrange a marriage for her, instead insisting on marrying her childhood sweetheart, Whataumoana Paki, in a simple ceremony.

A more traditional wedding was held later and the couple went on to have seven children, which she insisted on caring for without any outside help. When her father’s health began to degrade in the 1960s, Te Ata was often called in to deputise for him. She became Maori queen hours before her father was buried in May 1966, following six hours of mourning. Her biggest achievement was in seeking greater financial autonomy for the Waikato people, who alone suffered the confiscation of nearly half a million acres of land during the 1860s land wars. She was influential in leading the claims for her Tainui tribe’s compensation, which was settled in an historic £60 million deal in 1995. Te Ata’s reign coincided with the reinvigoration of the tribal parliament movement and greater demands for restitution of what had been taken by white settlers in the 19th century. The flouting by the settlers and successive governments of the Treaty of Waitangi, signed by Maori and representatives of Queen Victoria, are to this day central to Maori grievances. Despite this, Te Ata spoke out against radicals who demonstrated against the visiting British royals. Queen Elizabeth visited Te Ata at her family home on a visit in 1953.

Earlier this year, the Prince of Wales wrote to the Maori queen to congratulate her on the anniversary of her coronation, saying: “Our two families have enjoyed a wonderful friendship. “The 40 years of the leadership, courage and stability you have so far given to the people of Aotearoa New Zealand and indeed to the wider world … is an immeasurable treasure.” Te Ata was always careful to sidestep politics, although sometimes politics found her. In June 2003, her decision to attend a royal wedding in Tonga was criticised by free-speech advocates after King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV drafted legislation to ban an independent Tongan newspaper. In May 2004, the Maori Party emerged in New Zealand politics. Te Ata stayed largely clear of the party’s development, but she encouraged her niece Nanaia Mahuta, a cabinet minister, to stay working for Maori causes from within the Labour government. Te Ata was awarded an honorary doctorate from Waikato University in 1973 and an honorary doctorate in law from Victoria University in 1999. She was one of the first to be awarded the Order of New Zealand when it was established in 1987 – the country’s highest honour – and became the first Maori woman to be made a Dame. She raised the profile of Maori overseas and also championed the arts, Maori culture and language and women’s welfare at home. (Read the rest of this long article on NEWS.scotsman.com).

Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, who was buried today, was an enigma to most New Zealanders. She was loved and revered by her Tainui tribe and the other iwi who make up the Kingitanga (King Movement). She was admired and respected by Maori, Pakeha and foreign dignitaries whom she encountered through 40 years in office. Yet she was little known by the general public, and her influence was little understood. She did not seek a high profile, seldom spoke out on political issues and instead used the real power of her position quietly, counselling and persuading Maori and pakeha with regal inscrutability.

Her role in life was to nurture and develop her own, be it family, Tainui, members of the Kingitanga or the Maori nation. Her mantle was passed from her ancestors who formed the Kingitanga as a counterweight to the English Crown, in modern parlance achieving a political “critical mass” to protect land.

Her role had an almost sacred status seen most starkly in the palpable reluctance of her people, when she was alive, to talk about her or her thinking in any mainstream setting.In the week since her death, the eulogising has told of a woman of humility, grace and steadfast spirit, one who oversaw Tainui’s historic 1995 raupatu settlement with the Crown over 400,000ha of confiscated lands, and was an inspiration in the revival of te reo and in the broader Maori renaissance over the past 30 years. (Read the rest on Hawke’s Bay today).

Read: New Maori King gathers support, August 22, 2006: There has been a groundswell of support for the Kingitanga and its new leader, Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki, with iwi from around New Zealand giving their backing to the monarch. The 51-year-old father of three was named on Monday, following the death of his mother, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, a week ago. Ruka Broughton from the South Taranaki iwi, Nga Rauru, says the new leader has the family background befitting a king and is the right person for the job. Te Poroa Malcolm, from Bay of Plenty iwi, Te Arawa, says Paki’s appointment marks the dawn of a new era. Malcolm says the new king’s mother has left an ideal template for filling her shoes. Tainui chief executive Tukuroirangi Morgan says the election of a new king presents a great opportunity for tribes to come together and design a blueprint for social and economic change for all Maori. Tens of thousands of Maori attended the late queen’s tangi, and Morgan says that shows there is a real will for change. (Read the rest on TVnz.co.nz).


Dignified Queen of the Maoris who preserved her people’s culture and promoted unity in New Zealand;

New Maori king takes throne in New Zealand.

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