Story: Kaumātua – Māori elders

Hēnare Tōmoana

Hēnare Tōmoana

Hēnare Tōmoana said to Te Wiremu (Archdeacon Samuel Williams): 'To one of the few remaining kaumatua of Heretaunga I say call, call – they are all gone and you alone remain. My heart is filled with emotion. I am not a kaumatua, but due to the loss of our other kaumatua I am called a kaumatua. I have been taught to help the people, and now my desire is that a leader for the Maori people will arise in this generation; today my hope has been fulfilled. It is right that the youth should be guided by the kaumatua on the right path, so they can be leaders, but we must be gentle. It was us the kaumatua who stepped aside. Do not let us kaumatua be abandoned. It is you who will take our place, and you will receive the mantle of our mana once you become kaumatua. Thank you' ('He kupu whakamarama', Te Pipiwharauroa, February 1902, p. 3).

Tōmoana was speaking at one of the conferences of Te Aute College Student's Association in 1902, and was referring to the young Māori in the association when he spoke of a leader arising. He may have been referring in particular to Āpirana Ngata, who later became a member of Parliament. Ironically, despite suggesting he was too young to be a kaumātua, Tōmoana was probably in his 70s at the time.

Using this item

Niupepa: Maori newspapers
Reference: Te Pipiwharauroa: He kupu whakamarama, February, 1902, p. 3

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How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins and Paul Meredith, 'Kaumātua – Māori elders - Kaumātua and their role', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 June 2024)

Story by Rawinia Higgins and Paul Meredith, published 5 May 2011