Te Puea Hērangi
Māori leader
1883–1952

Central figure in establishing the Kingitanga movement

Te Puea Hērangi (Princess Te Puea) was the granddaughter of the second Māori King, Tāwhiao Te Wherowhero, of Ngāti Mahuta.

Her mother was Tiahuia and her father was Te Tahuna Hērangi of Ngāti Maniapoto.

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Hērangi was one of the most influential leaders of the Kingitanga (King movement). She was elected the first patron of the Māori Women's Welfare League when it was formed in 1951 and is often hailed as "the greatest Māori woman of our time".

Hērangi played a crucial role in re-establishing the Kingitanga among the Tainui people and in achieving its national recognition.

She first emerged as a leader during World War II, when she opposed the government's conscription of Māori, standing with men who did not want to fight for a government which had invaded and confiscated their lands and displaced their people.

Hērangi was also instrumental in setting up the Tainui settlement at Ngāruawāhia, including Tūrangawaewae Marae, which became a new centre for the Kingitanga and a base at which Hērangi hosted many Pākeha politicians and dignitaries, helping to cement its national status and strengthen ties with the government.

As a result of those ties, Hērangi was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1937.

And in 1946, Hērangi was able to approach the government to reach a settlement on behalf of Tainui for lands lost, accepting a deal of £5000 per year in perpetuity, to be administered by the Tainui Māori Trust Board. It wasn't as much as Tainui - or Hērangi - wanted, but she knew it was the best offer she could get her people at the time.

Hērangi bought a farm close to Tūrangawaewae in 1940, and lived there with her husband Rawiri Tumokai Katipa (whom she had married in 1922) for the rest of her life.

She died in 1952 after a long illness. Her tangihanga lasted a full week and was attended by thousands who made their way from around the country to Ngāruawāhia in her honour.

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