Maraea Te Kawa

Ngāti Porou

1900 - 1983

Maraea Te Kawa was educated at various primary schools on the East Coast and Northern Hawkes Bay. She married Makarini, eldest son of Sir Apirana Ngata, and had one son, Hori Mahue Ngata, who was author of the English Māori Dictionary published in 1993. Makarini died in 1928 and Maraea later married Noble Te Kawa during the Second World War. She served with the New Zealand army and was supervisor of an agricultural farm worked by women as part of the war effort. This was based in Helvetia, near Pukekohe, Auckland. Maraea Te Kawa worked for the post office and was matron of the Mangere Industrial Camp until it closed in 1957. She was a member of Moral Re-armament and travelled to Europe, North America and the Pacific Islands for this cause. She retired to Ruatoria during the late seventies and continued her work for the Māori Women’s Welfare League. In 1983 she was appointed president of the Māori Women’s Welfare League; she held this post for only about five months when she died at the age of 83 on September 5th, 1983.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence with Whai Ngata on 1 Sept. 1998 and 16 July 2004.
  • Eastern Māori Roll 1972.


  • "Te Whā Te kau Tau O Te Rōpu O P.P.S.E.A.W.A.: Fortieth Anniversary of P.P.S.E.A.W.A." Te Ao Hou 64 (1968): 7-9.
  • In August 1968 eight women from the Māori Women’s Welfare League accompanied members of the Pan Pacific Association of New Zealand to attend the fortieth anniversary of the Pan Pacific South East Asian Women’s Association in Honolulu. Te Kawa gives an account in Māori and English of the conference, outlines the various discussion group topics and notes that on a tour of the Bishop Museum the Māori delegation was able ‘to pay their respects to their kinsman Dr Te Rangihiroa Buck’.
  • Other

  • Solomon, Harata. "Powerful Profile of a Remarkable Kuia: A Life of Leadership and Love." Tu Tangata 14 (1983): 2-3.
  • In this tribute to Maraea Mary-Anne Te Kawa (1899-1983), Harata Solomon writes a detailed biography of Te Kawa and describes her as ‘a woman of spirituality, tremendous energy and great humanity.’