Ngā Tamatoa the movement

Ngā Tamatoa was formed in the 1970’s and was a Māori activist group which promoted Māori rights, and highlighted issues relating to racial discrimination, the loss of te reo Māori and continued confiscation of land.

Through a series of high-profile protest actions, Ngā Tamatoa galvanised public discussion about the rights of Māori. 

Made up of mainly urban and university-educated Māori, Ngā Tamatoa often worked alongside the Polynesian Panthers.  A number of high profile activists such as Taura Eruera, Syd Jackson, Hana Te Hemara, Tame Iti and Donna Awatere were members.

Tama Tū, Tama Ora, Tama Noho, Tama Mate, Tama Toa

On 14 September 1972, Ngā Tamatoa (which included Hana Te Hemara) and Te Reo Māori Society presented a petition with more than 30,000 signatures to the Crown to have Māori taught in schools. 

This was the beginning of a movement which helped to propel real social and political changes in New Zealand which has seen the establishment of Māori language nests, kōhanga reo, and the kura kaupapa Māori immersion schools. 

In 1987, the Māori Language Act was passed by the New Zealand Government, giving Te Reo Māori (Māori language) official language status.

The dedicated work by Ngā Tamatoa started a journey the revitalisation of te reo Māori and other important social and political changes in Aotearoa.

The I am Hana kaupapa honours their journey.

On 14 September 1972, Ngā Tamatoa and Te Reo Māori Society presented a petition with more than 30,000 signatures to the Crown to have Māori taught in schools.

Standing strong and shaping our future

Ngā Tamatoa remained strong on a number of kaupapa. They initiated the annual protests at Waitangi on Waitangi Day, in 1973 after Prime Minister Norman Kirk changed the name of the day to 'New Zealand Day'. The group claimed that the ‘Treaty is a fraud’ because of the ongoing breaches committed by the Government. 

Ngā Tamatoa organised the historic 1975 Land March, led by Dame Whina Cooper, from the top of North Island to Parliament in Wellington. They were also involved in disrupting the University of Auckland engineering students’ haka party, a part of the annual student capping parade. 

In that same year the government established the Waitangi Tribunal. The government realised they were heavy handed and had been ignoring the Treaty of Waitangi.

In 1979, Ngā Tamatoa wore black armbands to the celebrations to mourn the loss of Māori land much of which had been confiscated or annexed by state legislation. The Auckland Māori Council declared their support of the protest by making a submission that cited fourteen statutes that were currently breaching the Treaty.

The impact Ngā Tamatoa has had on Aotearoa can be felt throughout our education system and many other parts of our social and political landscape. 

Ngā Tamatoa 40 years on

We would like to acknowledge the members of Ngā Tamatoa 
and their whānau.

Establishing Members: March 1969 - March 1972

Hana Te Hemara
Mathew (Sonny) Abraham
Donna Awatere
Ngahuia Te Awekotuku
Orewa Barrett-Ohia
Mike Chadwick
Mana Cracknell
Poata Eruera
Taura Eruera
Wikitoria Eruera
Ripeka Evans
Peter Fox
Hilda Halkyard-Harawira
Hone Harawira
Turei Mokaraka (Danny) Heke
Wairere Tame Iti

Syd Jackson
Desmond Kahotea
Richard Kake
Teorongonui Josie Keelan
Pauline Kingi
Roimata Kirikiri
Paul Kōtara
Norman Kwoksum
Ramari Maipi
Taitimu Maipi
Liz Marsden
Robert Marumaru
Morehu McDonald
Tim McManus
Hirini Melbourne
Merata Mita

Eruera (Ted) Nia
John Ohia
Wikitōria Oman
Bruce Snow Parr
Larry Parr
Hirini Barney Pikari
Jim Pōmare
Lavinia Raureti-Monga
Peter David Rāwiri
Kura Te Waru Rewiri
Marama Reweti-Martin
Tom Reneti
Pita Rickys
Doug Sinclair
Mihi Sinclair
Lee Smith

Linda Tuhiwai Smith
Wally Tairakena
Brya Taylor
Ngahuia Te Awekotuku
Patrick Te Hemara
Lynne Tipene
Ruth Tipene
Rawiri Tuhiwai-Ruru
Toro Waaka
Anita Brown Wairea
Michael Walker
Stuart Walker
Steve Watson
Lynette (Hawkins) White
Vernon Winitana
Tiata Witehira

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