Kupu Whakataki


Te Waka Māori o Niu Tireni

The Maori Canoe of New Zealand

Kōrero Tā    He Whakamārama    Kaupapa    Nohoanga

Kōrero Tā

Published: August 21, 1878 - October 25, 1879. Gisborne

350 x 220mm., 16 pages, double columns, Maori with English translation, issued fortnightly, no illustrations except for the woodcut of the war canoe beneath the title from the fifth issue with "o Niu Tirani" dropped from the title and the motto "Hoea te waka, ha! " [Paddle the canoe!] added, contains 4 pages of advertisements, the first two issues were sent out gratuitously, then the cost was 13 shillings per year payable in advance. The newspaper was posted out on payment of the subscription. The imprint is, "Printed and published for the Gisborne Maori Newspaper Company (Limited) by James Grindell, at the Waka Maori office, Gisborne, Poverty Bay, New Zealand." After issue No.31 (24 May, 1879) was published the newspaper moved to Napier where it continued until issue No. 42 (25 October, 1879). A further attempt was made to revive it in 1884 with Te Waka Maori o Aotearoa.

This Te Waka Maori was also edited by James Grindell. For further physical details refer to Herbert W. Williams, A Bibliography of Printed Maori to 1900, Item 554.

This paper is written in Maori.

He Whakamārama

In 1877 there was a change of Government. Sir Donald McLean's policy for Maori people and their land as presented in the pages of Te Waka Maori o Ahuriri (Item 16) and Te Waka Maori o Niu Tirani (Item 17), had been roundly criticised by the Hawke's Bay Repudiation (of land sales) Movement. Several leaders of this movement were prominent in the new Liberal Government. Much of the attack on policy had been waged through the pages of the, then, opposition paper, Te Wananga (Item 22). Supporters of McLean's party and his policy resurrected Te Waka Maori at Gisborne.

The opening editorial demonstrates the link with the former Waka:

  • He kupu ako pono aku tika tonu nga kupu i kitea e ngā Maori i roto i nga wharangi o te Waka tawhito, a kei te Waka hou nei ka kitea ano te pono me te tika i roto i nga takiwa katoa e takoto ake nei. Ka ako pono rawa matou i nga Maori, ki ta te ngakau e kite ana, ahakoa he ako ki te tangata kotahi, ki te iwi nui tonu ranei - engari, tera pea e kawa ki etahi o rātou a matou mea e tohutohu ai ki a ratou.
  • In the pages of the old Waka the Maories [sic] ever found truthful and honest advice, and we trust that in the new Waka the same regard to truth and honesty will always be apparent. We shall counsel them honestly and conscientiously for their good, individually and collectively, although our advice may not always be palatable to some of them (August 21, 1878: veral respectable Natives of known position and intelligence are members of our Board of Directors."(ibid. : 2-3).

The war of words between Te Wananga and Te Waka Māori continued until a group of Hawke's Bay people associated with Te Wananga took Te Waka Maori to court:

  • Na Henare Rata raua ko Te Hiana me Karaitiana Takamoana ratou ko Te Hapuku, Tareha te Moananui, Renata Kawepo, me etahi atu rangatira Maori i whakawa Te Waka Maori i roto i te Kooti Hupirimi,a i mate taua nupepa ki reira. Nui atu to ratou hari me te koa i te hinganga o to ratou hoa riri (Aotearoa June 4, 1892: 1)
  • Henry Rata and Sheehan together with Karaitiana Takamoana, Te Hapuku, Tareha Te Moananui, Renata Kawepo, and other Maori chiefs took Te Waka Maori to the Supreme Court, from which time it ceased publication. They were greatly pleased at the downfall of their enemy.

This Te Waka Maori was also edited by James Grindell.

Grindell's opening editorial defends the former Te Waka Maori from criticism made in Te Wananga by John Sheehan of the Hawke's Bay Repudiation Movement. In 1877 when the Liberal Government came to power Sheehan became the new Native Minister. His Government stopped the funding for Te Waka.


Contents of this newspaper include:

  • obituaries
  • letters to the Government
  • an article on the Maori members of the Legislative Council and their work
  • proverbs
  • waiata
  • some world news
  • numerous accounts of Government actions in regard to Maori people and their land
  • the visit by Sir Donald McLean and Ropata Wahawaha of Ngati Porou to Melbourne and Sydney in the 1870s
  • the texts of several Native Land Acts with explanatory notes
  • reports of hui held throughout the country to discuss tribal policy concerning land.


This newspaper is on microfilm and microfiche. Original copies are held at:

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington:

1878Aug. 21- Dec.
1879Jan. - May, Aug. - Oct. 25

Auckland Public Library:

1878Aug. 21 - Sept. 18

Auckland University Library:

1878Aug. 21 - Dec.
1879Jan. - Oct. 25

Hocken Library, Dunedin:

1878Aug. 21 - Dec.
1879Jan. - Oct. 25

The Parliamentary Library, Wellington:

1878Aug. 21 - Dec.