Roi Carl Te Punga

Te Āti Awa

1919 - 2011

Roi Te Punga was born in Lower Hutt and was educated at Feilding Agricultural High School. He graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy at Victoria University. Te Punga served in the 28th Māori Battalion; he was wounded at Takrouna in Tunisia, the last battle in North Africa, and was invalided home. When he was wounded, he was Adjutant of the Battalion with the rank of Captain. After his discharge, Te Punga worked for the Education Department in Wellington and helped ex-servicemen with educational matters. He received a Rehabilitation Scholarship and completed an M.A. (Hons) in Philosophy in 1950. In 1951-52, he studied Social Science at Victoria and graduated with a Diploma in Social Science. Te Punga worked as a Probation Officer for the Justice Department until his appointment as District Probation Officer in Auckland. He became Chief Probation Officer for New Zealand for some years and was appointed Assistant-Director General of Social Welfare in charge of the Social Work division until his retirement in 1979.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation and correspondence with Roi Te Punga on 24 July 1998 and 13 October 2004.
  • “In The News.” Te Ao Hou 11 (1955): 61.
  • Te Punga, Roi. “Problems of Youth.” Te Ao Hou 27 (1959): 17.


  • "Problems of Youth." Te Ao Hou 27 (1959): 17-19.
  • Te Punga, District Probation Officer in Auckland, gives a background to Māori criminal offending in Auckland. He writes that Auckland contains the largest Māori population of any New Zealand city and that major adjustments have to be made when young people move to the cities in search of education and employment. Te Punga describes three broad categories of Māori offender, the types of offences committed and the problems with alcohol. He notes that the highest propensity towards crime is in the 16-30 age group, which he surmises could be due to the breakdown of tribal customs and authority in the city environment. Te Punga observes, however, that after the age of 30, rates of offending seem to diminish.


  • "Te Punga Fostered NZ’s Probation Service." The DominionPost