Patrick John (Pat) Heremaia

Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Hine

1942 -

Patrick Heremaia was born in Patea and was educated at Hawera High School and Wellington Training College where he gained a Teacher’s Diploma and TTC. He has taught at Ratana Pa, Mt Albert Grammar, and Tapuwera District High School. He was a teacher in London at the Green School and Rowan Girls’ High School. Heremaia was a senior teacher for two years at the Anglo-America Diplomatic School (Escola Inglesa De Luanda) in Angola and was principal at the school for two years. In 1975, he returned to New Zealand and taught at Henderson High School for one year and was a teacher at Green Bay High School from He was appointed Head of Department in Māori Studies. From 1986-1996, he was principal of Hillary College. He then moved into real estate and is currently operating his own business Import Australian Homes. He became a member of the New Zealand Māori Council and the Auckland District Māori Council. In 1983 he was appointed to the Multicultural Advisory Committee of the PPTA and formed the Māori committee. From his experiences in West Africa, Heremaia became sensitised to colonialism and noted the similarities between New Zealand and Portuguese in West Africa. He became particularly aware of the role of education systems in the colonisation of people. Heremaia wrote remits that were passed at the NZ Māori Council; these were concerned with a parallel education system run by Māori to look after the Māori schools from preschool to whare wananga. He was also a pioneer in the establishment of school marae, the first of which was built at Green Bay Primary School. Others were later established at polytechs, training colleges and universities. In 1984, Heremaia attended two education hui, the National Hui on Māori Education convened by the New Zealand Māori Council at Turangawaewae Marae and the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association’s first Māori Education Hui held at Waahi Marae, at which he divulged the hierarchy of School Certificate pass rates. He challenged the Ministry of Education to allow Māori to stand alone as a subject rather than marks being adjusted according to intrasubject compatibility. In 1984, Māori was designated the same status as English as a subject. Heremaia was a member of the Curriculum Review Committee, was a founder of the West Auckland Historical Society, and is currently chair and negotiator of Ngāti Ruanui Muru Me Te Raupatu working party dealing with Ngāti Ruanui Māori Land Claims with the Crown for South Taranaki. Heremaia is President of the Spina Bifida Association.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation with Patrick Heremaia, 18 Sept. 1998.
  • PPTA Journal 3 (1985): 31-32.


  • "A Māori View." PPTA Journal Term 1 (1985): 22-23.
  • Heremaia reports on several Māori education hui held in 1984 and 1985 which included the National Hui on Māori Education convened by the New Zealand Māori Council at Turangawaewae Marae, the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association’s first Māori Education Hui held at Waahi Marae, the Auckland District Māori Council Hui at the Kakariki Marae, Green Bay High School, and a hui discussing the School Certificate Māori examination at Auckland Teachers’ College. Heremaia lists seven recommendations made at the Auckland District Māori Council Hui.
  • "Māori Qualifications: A Vision of Whare Wananga." PPTA Journal Term 3 (1985): 31-32.
  • Co-authors Maiki Marks and Pat Heremaia. The authors examine the different trends in introducing Māori Studies into the school curriculum from the 1960s to the present. They argue that to facilitate the new integration of taha Māori, bicultural teachers are needed in far greater number. Heremaia and Marks discuss how tohunga were selected in traditional Māori society and note that the preoccupation with Pakeha qualifications in contemporary society has tended to exclude qualified Māori. The authors state the need for Māori to develop new ways of assessing skill within Māoridom; they outline proposed models which would recognise tribal and urban Whare Wananga as Māori authorities for assessing competence of Māori teachers in terms of te reo Māori and Māori tikanga.


  • "Powhiri to New Headmaster." Tu Tangata 29 (1986): 2-3.
  • Photographic display by Gil Hanly of Hilary College’s welcome to their new headmaster.
  • Laxon, Andrew. "Hillary College Head To Quit." New Zealand Herald 11 Sept. 1996: A3.