Te Whiti-o-Rongomai

B. Mitcalfe writes “Te Whiti-o-Rongomai composed songs, haka and poi in the traditional way, to counsel and to exhort his followers and to maintain kotahitanga (a sense of unity). These songs are still performed on many of the marae and formal occasions of Taranaki, especially at Parihaka, where Te Whiti lived and preached a doctrine of passive resistance to the pakeha until the final ‘Day of Reckoning’ should bring all men to account.”

Biographical sources

  • Mitcalfe, B. “Notes.” Te Māori: The Official Journal of the New Zealand Māori Council 1.4 (1970): 9.


  • "He Waiata Mo Parihaka/Parihaka Song." In ‘Te Whiti-o-Rongomai.’ Notes by B. Mitcalfe. Te Māori: The Official Journal of the New Zealand Māori Council 1.4 (1970): 8-11. In Māori and English.
  • Mitcalfe writes in his notes accompanying this waiata that ‘this song was composed partly to compel acceptance of the rebel chief, Titokowaru and the ‘Tekau-ma-rua’, his chosen followers, into Parihaka. Te Whiti had to use all his force of personality and power of oratory to induce acceptance of his doctrines of passive resistance amongst those who had fought and who had lost relatives and lands in the wars against the Pakeha.’ (8-11).
  • "Tatau Tatau..." English trans. Barry Mitcalfe. White Feathers: An Anthology of New Zealand and Pacific Island Poetry on the Theme of Peace. Ed. Terry Locke, Peter Low and John Winslade. Christchurch, N.Z.: Hazard, 1991. 141+.
  • The notes accompanying Mitcalfe’s English translation in White Feathers state that this ‘was one of the songs illustrating speeches at Parihaka. The iron and the clay refer here to Pākehā and Māori.’