Te Puea Hèrangi, A Māori Princess

  May 22, 2009 at 1:05 pm by

Te Puea Hèrangi was born the granddaughter of the second Māori King, Tawhiao, in 1883.

Te Puea is recognised as having been a famous and influential leader for Māori, with many great achievements throughout her life. One of the most notable occasions where she was a rallying point for Māori people was during World War I, when she objected to conscription. Te Puea made her farm available to those escaping conscription – it was raided by police four times and nearly 200 people were arrested. WWI was a difficult time in New Zealand’s history – many people questioned the country’s involvement and the conscription of New Zealand men for a war so far away as to not pose a direct threat to the country, and it must be remembered that most Māori did not have the English heritage that European New Zealanders did. In the end, when considering the population of each Allied nation at the time, only England’s contribution of ‘eligible manpower’ was higher, and New Zealand became yet another country changed irrevocably by the War.

Te Puea has also been gratefully acknowledged for her large contribution for the revival and popularising of Māori performing arts. Amongst her efforts Te Puea raised funds for the building of Turangawaewae Marae (which has become a marae of national importance), by organising concerts.

Princess Te Puea Hèrangi has been credited as being the person who brought the Māori monarchy to significance to New Zealand as a country, from its beginnings in the Waikato. She died after a long illness on 12 October 1952.

For more information about Māori royals, see this thread.

Filed under Historical Royals, New Zealand
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