Tamati Paku (Tom) Te Weehi

1931 - 1991

Tamati Te Weehi was born and educated in Ruatoria and left school at the age of fourteen. He worked as a shearer, fencer and scrub-cutter in Auckland and in the Wairarapa and continued this work when he moved to the South Island in the late 1950s. He married Margaret Wendy Wairau and worked as a shearer throughout the South Island; he was mainly based in Waikari in North Canterbury. When a stroke restricted his work as a shearer, Te Weehi became a prolific correspondent of letters to the editor of The Press in the late 1980s. He had lengthy court dealings concerning a paua fishing issue beginning in January 1984 when he was accused of breaching the Fisheries Act, 1983. Te Weehi argued his case in court, stating that he was exercising traditional property rights to fish in that area. He eventually won his case.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation with Tom Te Weehi on 5 July 1998.
  • Phone conversation and correspondence from Wendy Te Weehi on 8 and 9 July 1998.


  • In The Matter Of The Treaty Of Waitangi Act 1975, And In The Matter Of Claims Thereunder By Tom Te Weehi And Reremoana Hauraki, Both Of Christchurch, N.Z.: Report Of The Waitangi Tribunal On The Claim Of Te Weehi And Hauraki To Customary Fishing Rights. Wellington, N.Z.: Waitangi Tribunal, 1987.
  • This is not actually written by Te Weehi - it is a report by the Waitangi Tribunal concerning Te Weehi’s Waitangi Claim, and the subsequent court directives where Te Weehi was convicted in the District Court and successfully appealed against this conviction in the High Court in Te Weehi v Regional Fisheries Officer High Court, CHCH 19 August 1986 and therefore withdrew his claim from the Tribunal.
  • "Tom Te Weehi: Quiet Fighter." Tu Tangata (1991): 10-11.
  • A detailed account of Te Weehi’s court dealings concerning traditional Māori property rights.