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Sir Apirana Turupa Ngata

(1874—1950) Maori leader and politician in New Zealand


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(b. 3 July 1874, d. 14 July 1950).

Maori politician Born in Kawaka (Te Araroa), Ngata was educated at Te Aute college, and received a scholarship to study at Canterbury University College, graduating in political science in 1893. Having qualified as a lawyer in 1896, he was the first Maori university graduate from a New Zealand university, and one of the first New Zealanders to hold the degrees of BA and LLB. He had a great influence on the Kotahitanga movement and was one of the founders of the Young Maori Movement, entering parliament in 1905 for the Eastern Maori electorate.

A powerful orator, he emerged as one of the outstanding Maoris of the twentieth century. He was Minister for Native Affairs (1928–34), in which post he worked closely with the Maori leader, Te Puea Herangi. In 1931 he began to inaugurate his Maori Land Development Scheme, which greatly expanded Maori land under cultivation. He established the Maori Purposes Fund to finance school construction and was chairman of the Maori Board of Ethnological Research (1928–34). He was interested in the kinship between the Maoris and Polynesians, and as president of the Polynesian Society he published his two‐volume book, Nga Moeatea, in 1929. In 1934 he was forced to resign from the government, after a Native Affairs Commission had found him guilty of misusing funds to help further Maori projects. He was chiefly responsible for Maori recruitment during World Wars I and II, but managed to prevent them from being conscripted.

Subjects: Literature.


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