Wiremu Hohepa/William Joseph (Joe) Karetai

Ngāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe


"Joe Karetai was a matamua - the last of an elder line. He traced his ancestry back through four generations of Ariki nui to the great Otakou chief Karetai. Joe became an ambassador to Pakeha on Māori subjects, and vice versa, and became well-versed in both the history and cultural etiquette of Pakeha and Māori. This was reflected in his work to foster the Kai Tahu and Kati Mamoe peoples." He was a member of the New Zealand Māori Council. Karetai was awarded the O.B.E. and was a J.P.

Biographical sources

  • Te Karanga: Canterbury Māori Studies Association 3.1 (1987): 6-7.


  • "Te Whenua Te Wai U Mo Nga Tamariki O Te Tangata Whenua." Tu Tangata 26 (1985): 10-11.
  • Karetai describes the dispute between the 1000 Māori owners concerning a 500 acre block of land at Tautuku. This land was reserved for Ngaitahu during land sales in 1848. The Clutha County Council and Ministry of Works and Development wanted to legislate that native bush on this land be protected regardless of the opinion of the land’s owners.
  • Papers/Presentations

  • "Address of Joe Karetai to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, February 1986." Te Karanga: Canterbury Māori Studies Association 3.1 (1987): 8.
  • In this address Karetai states that while New Zealand’s ‘race relations are as good as anywhere else in the world’, he reminds the Queen and Prince Phillip of the patience of the Māori people ‘over many issues, including land, fisheries and the education system pertaining to the teaching of Māori language and Māori history.’
  • Traditional

  • Gray, Rev. M. Te Karanga: Canterbury Māori Studies Association 3.1 (1987): 6-7.
  • Christchurch Star 27 Mar. 1987. No further details.
  • Akaroa Mail 8 May 1987. No further details.


  • "Respected Leader Will Be Missed." Te Māori: The Official Journal of the New Zealand Māori Council 2.4 (1971): 24.
  • An obituary of Mr Whitu Pitama of the Ngai Tuahuriri tribe of Tuahiwi who was Te Upoko Runanga of Tuahiwi for fourteen years.