Piripi (Philip) Whaanga

Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Aitanga a Māhaki

1951 -

Piripi Whaanga was born in Lower Hutt, and was educated at St Michael’s Primary School, Taita, Our Lady of Lourdes, Christchurch, Our Lady of Fatima and Marist Brothers High School in Palmerston North, and St John’s College in Hamilton. In 1971 he did a journalism course at Wellington Polytech and since that time has worked as a journalist, librarian, studio photographer, musician, radio journalist, editor of Tu Tangata (1981-87), and radio producer. Along with Derek Fox and Gary Wilson, he was one of the founders of Mana Māori Media and he worked as a radio manager on New Zealand On Air, managing Māori radio iwi stations for Iwi Radio. Whaanga helped set up Te Upoko o Te Ika in Wellington and managed it for a few years. He also contributed to the establishment of the journalism course at Waiariki Polytech in 1985 and in 1991 founded a Māori radio training course in Wellington. Whaanga has worked for Radio Pacific in Auckland and spent a year and a half working for National Radio on "Checkpoint" and "Insight" programmes. He established and still operates a family company called Tu Tangata that specialises in Māori media, print, radio and television. He has carried out consultancy work for the Film Commission and the Statistics Department. He is currently doing relieving work at Te Upoko o Te Ika. He also works in consultancy for New Zealand On Air in Māori programmes and works for Mana News radio. He also teaches broadcasting at the NZ Radio Training School.

Whaanga’s main emphasis is non-fiction journalism but he also writes songs. In 2001 he recorded his first CD of original acoustic roots songs entitled Tu Tangata. This was followed by four more CDs. His latest CD, Matariki mix, was inspired by co-writing a stage production for Wellington Fringe Festival 2004 about Stonehenge Aotearoa. Whaanga has won Māori radio awards for programmes and in 1996 was awarded a Winston Churchill Scholarship to study the use of indigenous languages to train broadcasters in Tonga, Fiji and Samoa. He is a multi-sport athlete and did the Coast to Coast in 1995 and Mountains to Sea four times.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation and corrspondence with Piripi Whaanga: 20 Sept. 1998 and 18 Nov. 2004.
  • Whaanga, Piripi. “Māori Affairs D-day.” NZ Listener 9 July 1988: 28-31.
  • Alistair Morrison. “On the Look-Out for Māori Journalists.” Tu Tangata 33 (1986/87): 44- 45.


  • Toot N’ Gata. No details.
  • Toops Loops. No details.
  • Tu Meke. No details.
  • Matariki Mix.
  • This was inspired by co-writing a stage production for Wellington Fringe Festival 2004 about Stonehenge Aotearoa.
  • Tu Tangata. 2001.
  • This was Whaanga’s first CD of original acoustic roots songs.
  • Non-fiction

  • By Broadcasting, The Language Will Be Heard: Ma Te Paohotanga, Ka Ora Ai Te Reo: A Report Commissioned By The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Board. Wellington, N.Z.: The Board, [1997].
  • A report of Whaanga’s study tour of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji examining indigenous broadcasting.
  • Other

  • "BCNZ Makes A House Call. But Was The Patient Invited?" Tu Tangata 33 (Dec. 86/Jan. 87): 4.
  • Whaanga writes his observations of the Māori broadcasting hui held at Takupuahia marae in November 1986.
  • Reviews

  • Rev. of Concise Māori Dictionary - New Revised Edition, comp. A.W.Reed, and rev. T. S. Karetu, Nga Pepeha a Nga Tupuna, na Neil Grove i kohikohi [comp. Neil Grove], and An Illustrated Guide to Māori Art, by Terence Barrow. Tu Tangata 20 (Oct./Nov. 1984): 40-41.
  • Rev. of Working Together, by L. A. Edgeley and W. F. McDonald, and The Prehistory of New Zealand, by Janet Davidson. Tu Tangata 23 (Apr./May 1985): 33.
  • Rev. of Ko Roimata Me Te Wao Nui A Tane, by Miriam Smith. Tu Tangata 30 (July 1986): 58-59.
  • Rev. of The Matriarch, by Witi Ihimaera. Tu Tangata 31 (Aug./Sept. 1986): 31.
  • "Te Ohu Whakaari." Tu Tangata 30 (July 1986): 59-60.
  • Whaanga discusses a performance by Te Ohu Whakaari during their national tour of New Zealand.
  • Rev. of Nga Morehu The Survivors, by Judith Binney and Gillian Chaplin. Tu Tangata 35 (Apr./May 1987): 42.
  • Rev. of Māori Proverbs, by A. E. Brougham and A. W. Reed, rev. Sam Karetu. Tu Tangata 35 (Apr/May 1987): 42.
  • Sound recordings

  • "Insight Programmes." National Radio.
  • Whaanga has done a number of programmes in this series for National Radio with different topics explored each week.
  • "Checkpoint Programme." National Radio.
  • "Māori Language Learning." No details.
  • A series on iwi radio.
  • "Mahinarangi Tocker." No details.
  • Tu Tangata Language Booklet And Cassette. John Foster. Ed. Piripi Walker. Voiced by Titoko Whaanga. Wellngton, N.Z.: Replay Radio (National Radio), 1985.
  • He Whakamaarama. John Foster. Ed. and voiced by Piripi and Titoko Whaanga. Heinmann, 1986.
  • Te Mauri o Te Whanganui River.
  • A series of 5 half hour programmes on the people of the river that were originally broadcast on iwi stations in 1992 and broadcast on National Radio in 1993.
  • Traditional

  • "Poroporoaki mo George Nepia." Tu Tangata 32 (Oct./Nov. 1986): n.pag.
  • A tribute to sporting legend George Nepia.


  • "Māori Wardens - Frontline Social Workers." Tu Tangata 3 (Nov./Dec. 1981): 25.
  • Whaanga reports on the expanding role of Māori wardens from being ‘Māori police’ to helping ‘to promote, encourage and assist Māoris in their physical, economic, educational, moral and spiritual well-being.’
  • "He Kaakano." Tu Tangata 9 (Dec./Jan. 1983): 28-29.
  • Whaanga describes a six-week intensive Māori language course he attended at Wellington Polytechnic.
  • "Sydney Māoris Go Back To Basics." Tu Tangata 23 (Apr./May 1985): 8-9.
  • Whaanga interviews Kingi Ihaka about his impressions of the Māori experience in Australia.
  • "He Kōrero Mo Taringa Mamae." Tu Tangata 24 (June/July 1985): 24-25.
  • A discussion on the problems of taringa mamae/ear ache and its treatment.
  • "HERBS Live On Their No Nukes Tour Of NZ." Tu Tangata 24 (June/July1985): 28-29.
  • A review of a HERBS performance at the Terminus Hotel in Wellinton and of their new album Long Ago.
  • "Watercress Tuna Meets The Children Of Champion St. Porirua." Tu Tangata 24 (June/July 1985): 36-37.
  • A brief note on the book launch of Watercress Tuna, written by Patricia Grace and illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa.
  • "Across The Great Divide - A Māori Editor’s Travels In Australia." Tu Tangata 25 (Aug./Sept. 1985): 32-34.
  • Whaanga writes of the accommodation of different cultures in Australia which he observes appears to favour all except the Aboriginal people.
  • "He Maru Mo Te Iwi - Shelter For The People." Tu Tangata 31 (Aug./Sept. 1986): 35-37.
  • Whaanga writes of a timber milling employment scheme developed by Te Oranga Trust and Waitemata mayor Tim Shadbolt.
  • ‘"Te Māori": A Proper Place In Aotearoa.’ Phillip Whaanga. Researcher Michael Romanos. NZ Listener 23 Aug. 1986: 22-23.
  • Whaanga compares the treatment of ‘Te Māori’ in the United States with the treatment of Māori issues in New Zealand.
  • "Giving It Herbs." Tu Tangata 32 (Oct./Nov. 1986): 30-31.
  • Whaanga talks with Herb’s music promoter Hugh Lynn concerning his involvement with the band, the current make-up of the group and various aspects of racism they encounter in the music world.
  • "Tu Tangata Magazine Close Down: He Ohaki." Tu Tangata 36 (June/July 1987): 2.
  • Whaanga writes of his response to the Department of Māori Affairs decision to cease publication of Tu Tangata.
  • "Carving Up The Cake." Arts Times 11 (Mar./Apr. 1988): 14-15.
  • "Māori Affairs D-day." NZ Listener 9 July 1988: 28-31.
  • Whaanga discusses Māori response to the proposed abolition of the Department of Māori Affairs, and Tawini Rangihau adds a section to this article entitled "He Tirohanga Rangapu/Partnership Perspectives’ and includes quotes from Māori kaumatua in Māori with brief English translations concerning their response to Partnership Perspectives.
  • "Nga Piki Me Nga Heke: The Ups And Downs Of Māori Radio." Power and Responsibility: Broadcaster Striking a Balance. Ed. Philippa Ballard. Wellington, N.Z.: Broadcasting Standard Authority, 1994. 137-144.
  • Whaanga writes a response to the proposed introduction of a governing body to act as a broadcasting standards authority to assertain how to obtain balance in broadcasting.
  • "Māori Radio Capable Of Carrying A Bicultural Message." Between The Lines: Racism And The New Zealand Media. Ed. Paul Spoonley and Walter Hirsh. Auckland, N.Z.: Heinemann Reed, 1990.
  • Whaanga writes of the role of Te Upoko o Te Ika
  • Morrison, Alistair. "On The Look-Out For Māori Journalists." Tu Tangata 33 (Dec. 86/Jan. 87): 44-45.
  • A biography of Whaanga’s career as a journalist that notes his commitment to training more Māori journalists.
  • Browne, Donald R. "Critique of Māori broadcasting." Electronic Media and Indigenous Peoples: A Voice of Our Own. [Iowa], USA: Iowa State UP/Ames, 1996.