Story: Ngā māngai – Māori representation

Tāreha Te Moananui's maiden speech, 1868

The first Māori MPs made their first (or 'maiden') parliamentary speeches in Māori since they had only a limited knowledge of the English language. An interpreter provided an English version of the speeches for the other MPs, although at least one MP objected to this. The first Māori MP to speak, Tāreha Te Moananui, said, 'It has been laid down in the Scripture, and also by your own law, that there should be one law for both of us'. The text of his speech appears here.

Mete Kīngi Paetahi said, 'I give thanks to the Queen, and to the Governor, and to the Ministers, and to all the chiefs of the Assembly [the MPs], for it having occurred to their minds to summon Maoris to Parliament' (New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, 1868, vol. II, p. 271).

Some days later the Māori MP John Patterson, speaking in English, said, 'It is my desire that I shall have a voice in matters introduced into this House, for the appearance of us who are called Maoris sitting here is this, we hear merely the words that are spoken, but we don't know the meaning; we are like a post standing, having neither voice nor ears' (p. 372).

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, 1868, vol. II, p. 271

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How to cite this page:

Rawiri Taonui, 'Ngā māngai – Māori representation - Representation in Parliament', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 August 2022)

Story by Rawiri Taonui, published 20 Jun 2012, reviewed & revised 15 Jul 2016