May 17, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Maori Wardens help whanau cope with the aftermath

3 min read

Maori wardens in Christchurch have been going door to door to make sure people are coping in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Te Puni Kokiri (the Ministry of Maori Development) says volunteers have been sent to welfare centres, and about 40 Maori wardens are on reassurance campaigns.

They say the number of wardens could increase, as more arrive from other parts of the country.

The ministry says about 5000 households have been visited so far.

About the Maori Wardens (from their website)

Our Kaupapa began as early as the 1840s, during the reign of Kiingi Tawhiao. Maori were put in place to protect the well being of Maori, and to keep the peace at gatherings at marae where Maori leaders were discussing the well being of Maori and protecting their land interests.

Whilst the modern Maori Warden (MW) evolved in the mid 1850s they did not appear in Statute until the Maori Social and Economic Act 1946 with further advances in the Maori Welfare Act 1962, forerunner to the Maori Community Development Act which is current statute today.

Maori Wardens were first appointed and appeared in the N Z Gazette in 1946. From that date through to 1969 Maori Wardens were under the control of Tribal Committees and then Maori Committees. From 1969 Maori Wardens were placed under control of their Maori District Councils (MDC).

During the 1960s it became apparent that Maori Wardens were not being catered for in terms of support or funding. Three leaders of that time, the Late Peter Awatere, the late Horatu Rogers and the late George Whakarau traveled the Motu talking to Maori Wardens culminating in the first National conference for Maori Wardens being held in Rotorua in 1967.

Conferences were held annually thru to 1975, in Whanganui, Christchurch, Kawakawa, Hastings, Gisborne, Bulls, Wellington, Auckland, with two delegates elected from each district.

There were 1120 Maori Wardens in 1971, however due to statute changes in June 1974 the cancellation of all Maori Wardens warrants being replaced by three yearly re-appointments, and, the Maori District Councils inability to manage Maori Wardens these numbers declined to only 321 Gazeetted and warranted Maori Wardens in October 1979. A loss of 800 wardens over 8 years.

The Late Hon Ben Couch, Minister for Maori Affairs, in 1978 instructed the NZ Maori Council to re-vitalise Maori Wardens to their earlier strength. This culminated in a Conference at Turangawaewae Marae in November 1979 where a vote to form the NZ Maori Wardens Association Inc (NZMWA). The rules were registered with the Registrar of Incorporated Societies on 17th February 1980. At the same time Minister Couch delivered $50000.00 to the NZMWA to assist with the development of the Association.

From 321 Maori Wardens in October 1979 the numbers grew to more than 1400 by November 1985. District Branches grew from 9 to 14. Sub branches grew from nil to 40.

Co-ordinators were appointed to each District branch to assist with communication and the development of Sub Associations.

A Trust Nga Roopu Watene Trust was established and carried out 5 work training programmes from 1986 to 1991.

Truancy programmes were successfully undertaken in 5 Districts in the early 1990s

In 1994 conference voted to end the delegate system of elected representation to the National body (30 delegates, 4 elected officers ) and replaced this with five elected Councilors, with a Manager.

Funding of $100,000.00 per annum for Youth at Risk activities has been administered by the NZMWA to MW since 1999.

Since 1979 there have been 27 annual Conferences held from Ti Tii in Taitokerau to Murihiku in Southland and in every district in between.

Today, the NZMWA is in the process of strengthening the branches and seeking to alleviate obstacles that impede the Maori Wardens ability to efficiently carry out their role of Manaakitanga.

6 thoughts on “Maori Wardens help whanau cope with the aftermath

  1. Kia Ora, Pouri Au for writing so late, but all of the donations that are supposed to be coming to chch for families aren’t actually coming to the chch people. I will get a hold of my mama and papa and let you know re: donations because all donated money we recieve we actually give to the people and don’t keep it for ourselves like the council, There is supposed to be alot of donations for people but as you can tell in the news it isn’t going to the people in need.

    1. Kia Ora My name Is Rawinia Te Wani and Im apart of the Otautahi Maori Wardens, by any chance are you looking for Harry Matehaere because he now lives in Nelson, he is apart of the Whakatu Maori Wardens. If you are email myslef on [email protected] and I will forward your address on to him

      Thanks 🙂

  2. The Turanganui Maori Wardens have started a Mother and Child appeal for chch Earthquake. We are appealing for items to do with sanitation that will help mother and children. We are trying to avoid items that do not use water but we are grateful for anything the public donates. How can we get these donations from Gisborne to ChCh and know they will get to our people.

Leave a Reply to Rawinia Te Wani Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.