The life of Dr Apirana Mahuika

By Korōria Taumaunu

Apirana Tuahae Kaukapakapa Mahuika is of Ngāti Porou descent and was born and raised at Whakawhitira and Tikitiki.

He was youngest of the 14 children born to Te Hamana and Tangipo, who were from Rakaimataura and Hinerupe ki Waiapu.

He followed the footsteps of the great Sir Apirana Ngata and attended Te Aute College.

He then went on to university in Auckland where he earned his Bachelor of Arts, the first of many scholastic accolades including an MA from Sydney University, an Honorary PhD from Waikato University.

In 1962 he was ordained a minister in the Anglican Church, a role he performed for 52 years, as well as a prestigious teaching career in several schools, including St Stephens College in Auckland, the Correspondence School, Wellington Teachers College, and Victoria, Massey and Waikato Universities.

He was a reo Māori scholar, lending his pen to writing instructional books in te reo learning, children's stories and commentaries on contemporary issues affecting Māori society.

But in 1987 he began the work that he became famous for.  He chaired the Working Party which led to the establishment on Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Porou and subsequently its first and only chairman to date when the entity received legal status on September 1 of that year.

Under his reign the iwi saw the introduction of a number of initiatives such as Radio Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Porou Hauora, Ngāti Porou Whānui Forests, the return of Maunga Hikurangi and the lodging of the WAI272 claim.      

“Farewell oh loved one, to you and your ancestors. Taste the sweet honey of the harakeke. As you join those who have departed. To us who remain, leave all our dear ones in the loving care of our creator. “