Michael Rotohiko (Mick) Jones

Ngāti Maniapoto

1895 - 1978

Michael Jones was born at Poro-o-Tarao, son of Daniel Lewis and Pare Te Korae Poutama of Ngāti Maniapoto. He was later adopted by his mother’s second husband, David Jones of Ngapuhi. Michael Jones attended Ongarue Primary School and Te Kuiti Primary School. In 1913, he began his secondary education at Wesley Training College at Three Kings, Auckland, had private tuition from Rev Monfries from 1914-15, and then attended Manunui Presbyterian College. From 1916-19, he was a member of the first NZEF, rising to the rank of staff sergeant and was awarded the Military Medal after rescuing a wounded soldier. After the war, Jones took up employment with Te Kuiti land agent Richard Ormsby and married Kahuwaero Hetet. He went on to establish his own business as a land agent and licensed interpreter in Hawera in 1922. His son, Rei Jones, writes that Michael “played a full part in the life of the community. He was a member of the Borough Council and the Hawera Hospital Board. Said to have been the first Māori Rotarian, he became vice-president of the local Rotary Club. He was President of the Taranaki branch on the Dominion Executive of the Returned Servicemen’s Association. A keen sportsman, he served on the management committee of the New Zealand Māori Lawn Tennis Association and he and his brother Pei were Māori doubles champions in 1928. He was also a top golfer and served on the New Zealand Māori Gold Association.”Both Michael Jones and his brother Pei Te Hurinui Jones were deeply involved in the Māori King Movement, and were close advisors to Koroki, Te Puea and Te Atairangikaahu from the late 1920s until their deaths in the 1970s. In 1940, Jones succeeded Balneavis as Private Secretary to the Native Minister and worked for many years in this position and later as a Māori Liaison Officer. Jones was a member of the Māori Education Committee, the Committee for the Teaching of the Māori Language, and the Polynesian Society. He chaired the Ngāti Poneke Association from 1950-1962. He was a Māori news announcer on National Radio, an examiner for the University Entrance Māori examination and chair of the Māori Dictionary Revision Committee. He was on the New Zealand Māori Council, was a council member of the Polynesian Society, and was President of the Society in 1955.

Rei Jones adds: “In 1962 he retired to the family farm at Otewa but retained an active interest in the local community and involvement with the Kingitanga. He was a member of the South Auckland Education Board’s advisory committee on Māori education and a member of the Parole Board at Waikeria prison. He died in 1978 at the tangihanga of his eldest son, Tutahanga, and is buried beside him in the soldier’s plot in the urupa at Tokanganui-a-noho marae in Te Kuiti.’

Jones was awarded the C.B.E, M.M., and was a J.P. He wrote non-fiction articles for Māori publications.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation and correspondence with Rei Jones, 14 and 15 Sept. 1998, 15 and 27 July 2004.
  • A Biography of Michael Rotohiko Jones, by his son Rei Jones. No further details.
  • "Mr M. R. Jones Retires form Public Service." Te Ao Hou 39 (1962): 18.
  • Māori and Pakeha: Studies in Christian Responsibility. Christchurch, N.Z.: Published by Women’s Committee of the National Council of Churches in New Zealand by the Presbyterian Bookroom, 1964. 4.


  • "Statement by Mr M. R. Jones, on behalf of Taranaki Delegation." In "Impressions of the Conference." Report on Young Māori Conference held at Auckland University College May 22nd-May 26th, 1939. 39-41.
  • Jones presents a favourable response to the 1939 Young Māori Conference on behalf of the other Taranaki delegates. He states ‘[t]he hundred per cent opinion of the delegates was that the Māori should be so interwoven into the economic fabric of the Dominion that he can bear with his Pakeha countryman his full share of the responsibilities and advantages of true citizenship.’
  • "Ko Te Tiriti O Waitangi." Te Ao Hou 23 (1958): 41-42.
  • "The Change From Ancient to Modern in Māori Livelihood." Māori and Pakeha: Studies in Christian Responsibility. Christchurch, N.Z.: The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Churches in New Zealand by the Presbyterian Bookroom, 1964. 24-26.
  • Jones begins this paper by describing the different social groupings in traditional Māori society and notes the various aspects of European life that ushered in the breakdown of Māori society. These include the introduction of money, the individualisation of Māori land titles, and the selling of ancestral lands. Jones examines the range of employment occupied by Māori, observing that 75 per cent of the Māori working population up to the First World War were involved in unskilled labour. The Second World War saw a huge influx of Māori to the cities to assist in the war effort, but it was not until 1950 that the government developed programmes to train Māori in the skilled trades. Jones argues for greater diversification in Māori employment.


  • "Mr M. R. Jones Retires form Public Service." Te Ao Hou 39 (1962): 18.