Story: Kotahitanga – unity movements

Grey's rūnanga system

Grey's rūnanga system

Governor George Grey's rūnanga system was designed as a tribally based system of local government under the oversight of the government. It was implemented in 1861, and it is likely that it was intended to distract attention from nationalist unity movements such as the Kīngitanga (Māori King movement). It was summarised by magistrate John Gorst: 'The whole native territory was to be divided into about twenty Districts, each to be presided over by an English Commissioner. The District was subdivided into a half-a-dozen Hundreds, each of which should select two native magistrates, a warden, and five constables. These officers were to be paid by Government a magistrate, from £30 to £50 per annum; a warden, £30; and the constables, £10 each, with a suit of uniform every year. The two magistrates from each Hundred were to constitute the District Runanga, presided over by the Civil Commissioner.' (J. E. Gorst, The Maori king. Christchurch: Kiwi, 1999, p. 134 (originally published 1864).)

In practice, there was a lot of variation in how the system was implemented and the above model is based on a government report of the proposed structure for the Bay of Islands.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Source: Lindsay Cox, Kotahitanga: the search for Maori political unity. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1993

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How to cite this page:

Basil Keane, 'Kotahitanga – unity movements - Kotahitanga movements around the 1860s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/diagram/33585/greys-runanga-system (accessed 16 December 2019)

Story by Basil Keane, published 20 Jun 2012