Henare Arekatera Tate

Te Rarawa, Ngāti Manawa

1938 - 2017



Henare Arekatera Tate was born in Motuti, Hokianga, and was born in Motuti, Hokianga, and was educated at Motuti Primary School and Hato Petera College in Northcote. From 1956-57, he completed papers in Māori Studies at Auckland University and then began training for the Catholic priesthood at the Holy Name Seminary in Christchurch, where he studied philosophy for three years. The next four of his seven years in training were spent at Holy Cross College, Mosgiel, where he studied Theology and Scripture. Tate was ordained as a Catholic Priest in 1962 and since that time has worked in a city parish, has spent nine years at Te Unga Waka Māori Mission, and has worked in Gisborne and Kaikohe. In 1978 he went to Panguru where he continued parish work. In 1990 he was transferred back to Te Unga Waka and Tamaki Māori Mission. He was the Vicar for Māori Catholics of the Auckland Diocese until 2007.

In 1992 Tate began teaching papers entitled “A Māori Theology Perspective I & II” at Auckland University School of Theology. From 1995, he co-presented Māori spirituality/theology programmes at the Auckland Catholic Institute of Theology. From 1996-97, he was a co-ordinator of the Māori Theology Development Committee. He gained a doctorate from the Melbourne College of Divinity in 2010.

Tate was principal presenter of Te Rarawa iwi “Dynamics of Whanaungatanga” programmes from 1990. He chaired Te Iku o te Ika Social Services and the Auckland Diocesan Bi-cultural Committee. He was resident chaplain at Hato Petera College, Auckland, and was Catholic Chaplain for the Māori Battalion tour of Mediterranean.

Tate wrote non-fiction work and focused on historical material from the Hokianga. He drew upon handwritten manuscripts from the1850s for use on marae for carvings, drama, haka, poi, waiata and whaikōrero. His book He Puna Iti i te Ao Mārama: A Little Spring in the World of Light, which won the fifth annual Māori Book Awards non-fiction award in 2013, has been described as a 'far-reaching work [which] attempts to develop of the foundations of an indigenous Māori theology. In Pā Tate's opinion, the traditional Christian message has fallen short of speaking intimately and powerfully to Māori experience in New Zealand. Māori are crying out for a form of Christianity that is 'theirs'. This book offers one response and contribution to this call by attempting to develop a theology that Māori can call 'ours'.' He continued to work as an historian and whakapapa consultant for Te Rarawa Iwi, and lived in retirement in Motuti, in northern Hokianga, until his death on April 1, 2017.



Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Pa Henare Tate: 15 Jan 1993, 18 Feb. 1998 and 22 July 2004.
  • Email correspondence from Sister Magdalen Sheahan 7 May 2019.

    Non-fiction

  • He Puna Iti i te Ao Mārama: A Little Spring in the World of Light. Auckland, NZ: Oratia Media, 2012.
  • Other

  • "Second Māori Catholic Priest." Te Ao Hou 40 (1962): 46.
  • Wanders, Father. "He Kupu Whakamarama Mo Henare Tate." Te Ao Hou 41 (1962): 12.
  • In Māori.
  • "Letter of Introduction." Te Iwi o Aotearoa 2 (1987): 4.
  • Tate writes a letter of introduction in Māori to accompany a panui announcing the Hikoi Ki Motuti from 11-14 December 1987 to raise money for the completion of the new marae at Motuti.
  • "Hikoi Ki Motuti Committee: Letter of Introduction." Te Iwi o Aotearoa 3 (1987): 2.
  • Following on from his previous panui in Te Iwi o Aotearoa 2 (1987), Tate notes that along with the Hikoi Ki Motuti there would be a pilgrimage to celebrate the 1987 Marian Year - the year of Mother Mary.
  • Tamatea Motuti. Auckland, N.Z.: New Zealand Forest Products, 1987.
  • Tate writes about the marae complex at Motuti called Tamatea Motuti which was built between 1979 and 1987, and provides detailed descriptions of the carvings in the wharepuni, wharekai and "Nga-Kokako" Gateway
  • "The Unseen World." New Zealand Geographic 5 (1990): 87-91.
  • Tate discusses the meaning and interconnection of mana and tapu, and states that tapu has to be addressed through ‘tika (justice), pono (integrity, or faithfulness to tika) and aroha (love)." Tate adds: "Pakeha have not enjoyed the mana of the tangata whenua because of treaty violations....The answer is in the tapu of the treaty. Address the tapu that has been violated, and mana will be set free to be the mantle under which all may become tangata whenua."
  • "Moetara Motu Tongaporutu." The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.. Ed. W. H. Oliver. Vol. 1: 1769-1869. Wellington, N.Z.: Allen & Unwin/Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1990. 289-291.
  • Co-authored with John Klaricich and Angela Ballara.
  • "Nga-kahu-whero." The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.. Ed. W. H. Oliver. Vol. 1: 1769-1869. Wellington, N.Z.: Allen & Unwin/Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1990. 309.
  • A biography of Te Rarawa kuia Nga-kahu-whero, who was descended from Te Rarawa leader Te Reinga and exercised great mana in the north in the early decades of the 19th century.
  • "Wiremu Rikihana 1851-1933." The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Vol. 3: 1901-1920. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland UP with Bridget Williams; Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1996. 434-435.
  • "Himiona Tupakihi Kamira." The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Vol. 4: 1921-1940. Auckland, N.Z.: Auckland UP with Bridget Williams; Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1998. 261-263.
  • "Utu – to Restore Honour. The Common Good 19 (Easter 2001). Rpt in http://www.catholicworker.org.nz/cg/CG19-Utu.htm 11 Dec. 2008.