Te Kuru-o-Te-Marama Waaka


1914 - 1997

Te Kuru-o-Te-Marama Waaka was born in Rotorua and was educated at Te Aute College. In 1939 Waaka enlisted for the Māori Battalion in which he rose to the rank of captain; he was invalided home in 1943. In 1945 he joined the Rehabilitation Department. He was appointed Director of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in 1966. Waaka chaired the Māori and South Pacific Arts Council from 1984-97 and was a member of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. From 1984-97 he chaired the Polynesian Festival Committee/Aotearoa Māori Festival of the Arts. He was chair of the finance committee of the Te Arawa Māori Trust Board for 16 years and chaired six local Māori Land Trusts and Incorporations. Waaka was past president of the 28th Māori Battalion Assocation and the Crete Veterans Association. He was actively involved in Māori Welfare organisations and worked with former servicemen. He chaired Te Waka Toi and was patron of the National Māori Choir. In 1978 he received the QSO for public services and in 1997 was awarded the CNZM for services to Māori.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Peter Waaka on 9 July 1998 and 9 Nov. 2004.
  • New Zealand Who’s Who Aotearoa. 1998 ed.. Auckland, N.Z.: New Zealand Who’s Who Publications, 1998. 845.


  • "I Will Come Home." Te Ao Hou 11 (1955): 21.
  • A brief account of a memorial ceremony held at Whakarewarewa when soil taken from the grave of Māori airman, Flight Sergeant Tionga Waaka, RNZAF, who was shot down over Italy during World War II, was returned to his home in Rotorua.
  • Other

  • "Rotorua Arts Institute." Te Māori: The Official Journal of the New Zealand Māori Council 2.5 (Oct./Nov. 1971): 51.
  • Waaka responds to Dr S. M. Mead’s article "Rotorua Arts Institute Under Fire - Tourist Zoo?" (in Te Māori 2.4 (July/Aug. 1971): 15-16), in which Mead expressed his concern with the direction of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute.
  • "Article by Dr S. M. Mead." Te Māori: The Official Journal of the New Zealand Māori Council 3.1 (1972?): 47.
  • A brief letter drawing attention to an editorial oversight in connection with Waaka’s previous letter to Te Māori.
  • Poetry

  • "He Pātere mō te Hu o Tarawera/A Patere for the Eruption of Tarawera." The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry/Ngā Kupu T˚tohu o Aotearoa. Ed. Miriama Evans, Harvey McQueen and Ian Wedde. Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin Books,1989. 506-508. In Māori and English. Rpt. in Māori only in Te Ao Mārama: Contemporary Māori Writing. Comp. and ed. Witi Ihimaera. Contributing editors: Haare Williams, Irihapeti Ramsden and D. S. Long. Vol. 5: Te Torino: The Spiral. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed Books, 1996. 25-26.
  • The speaker sees the events leading up to the volcanic eruption at Tarawera and the devastation that followed it. This patere was written at the time of the centenary of the Tarawera eruption in 1986.


  • "People and Places." Te Ao Hou 51 (1965): 28-31.
  • An account of Waaka’s appointment as secretary of the Rotorua Māori Arts and Crafts Institute and a brief biography of Waaka.