Arapeta Wiremu Tahana

Ngāti Pikiao

1945 -

He was born in Rotoiti and was educated at Rotoiti Primary School, Rotorua High School and Hato Petera College in Northcote, Auckland. He attended Auckland Teachers’ College and graduated with a Diploma of Teaching. He was a teacher at Ruatoki for a year and taught at Lincoln Heights in Auckland for five years. He studied part-time at Auckland University where he majored in Māori and Education, graduating with an M.A. (First Class Hons) in Education. He was a member of the Auckland Māori District Council and established an opportunity class at Seddon High School for young Māori and Islanders who had been expelled from school. He worked for 12 years in Vocational Guidance. He established pre-employment training courses at Hillary College and other courses in the area of cross-cultural training and total-immersion. He was Chief Executive Officer at Waiariki Polytechnic from He has been Senior Vocational Guidance officer and has chaired Hato Petara Board of Governors and Old Boys’ Association. He has been a member of the Massey College Board of Governors, and is a foundation member of Mana Motuhake and Policy Council. He was a candidate for Mana Motuhake for Eastern Māori in the 1981 general election. He is currently self employed as a Management Consultant and contracts to a number of Iwi and Māori organisations.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence with Tahana: 5 Jan. 1993, and 17 Mar. 1998.
  • "Mana Motuhake Candidates." Tu Tangata 3 (1981): 10.


  • "An Opportunity Class." Multi-Cultural School 4 (1976/1977): 13-19.
  • Tahana describes a class that was formed in September 1974 to cater to ‘pupils at the point of crisis’ and not ‘benefiting in any way from the education programme offered by the school.’ He discusses the pupil selection process, the organisation of the class and its aims. He lists the five principles that ‘provide a sound basis for curriculum selection and teaching methods’ and these include raising self esteem, understanding self identity, learning communication skills, and finding relevance. These principles are combined within a framework of respecting cultural differences, social orientation, democratic participation, and broadening the learning environment. Tahana notes the subjects taught and special projects undertaken and concludes by assessing the success of the class.
  • "The Ritchie Theory Of Māori Basic Personality: A Review And Critique." Multi-Cultural School 10 (1978/1979): 4-10.
  • Tahana writes a critique of Ernest Beaglehole and James E Ritchie’s The Rakau Māori Studies and particularly challenges its theoretical perspective, the study’s scale of Māoriness, its lack of definition of terms used in the study, the interviewing techniques and the interpretation of data.
  • "Māori Political Representation." Māori Representation Conference, Tuurangawaewae Marae, 26-27 April, 1985: Nga Tumanako. Sponsored by NZ Māori Council. Ed. Ranginui Walker. [Auckland], N.Z.: Centre for Continuing Education, U of Auckland, N.Z., 1985. 10-11.
  • In this paper presented to the Māori Representation Conference of April 1985, Tahana, as President of Mana Motuhake of Aotearoa, states that discussion about the abolition of the Māori seats is merely a ‘smokescreen to divert attention away from the many inequities and injustices of the present system’. He lists the current inadequacies of legislation surrounding the Māori seats, presents alternative structures which could better represent Māori interests, and advocates proportional representation.
  • "There Are Few Soft Answers In Education." Education is Change: Twenty Viewpoints. Ed. Harvey McQueen. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams, 1993. 210-220.
  • Tahana discusses his experiences in the education system as a pupil, teacher and a head of a Polytechnic and his vision for education.
  • Theses

  • "A Critical Analysis of Some Studies of Māori Schooling." M.A. thesis. Auckland U, Sept. 1980.


  • "Mana Motuhake Candidates." Tu Tangata 3 (Nov./Dec. 1981): 10.]
  • Brief biography.
  • Reviews

  • "A Place In The Tribal Landscape." Rev. of Te Arawa: History of the Arawa People, by D M Stafford. The Dominion Sunday Times 25 Aug. 1991: 24.