Rahera Barrett-Douglas

Ngāti Maniapoto

Ngāti Uekaha

1939 -

Rahera was born and raised at Waitomo Caves and educated at Waitomo Primary School and Otorohanga District High School. After leaving school she worked in the Post and Telegram Departments in Te Kuiti, Raglan and Kilbirnie Post Office. She worked for Government Life for six months and then returned to the main General Post Office where she was employed for seven years. After marrying Ted Douglas, Rahera began doing relief work in Strathmore Park/Miramar area Post Offices. She travelled to Jamaica and worked in preparatory schools, and on her return to New Zealand began Play Centre training while working at the Wellington Central Play Centre in Willis Street. In 1972 she obtained a Wellington Play Centre Supervisor’s Certificate, and in 1973 gained a National Play Centre Certificate. Rahera became involved in supervising at Hamilton’s Hukanui Play Centre and Hamilton East Play Centre and graduated with a Kindergarten Training Diploma in 1977. After working as a kindergarten teacher for two years in the Hamilton area Rahera was employed by the Department of Education as an adviser for early childhood education in Hamilton from In 1987 she worked as an equal employment opportunity coordinator at the head Office of the Department of Education in Wellington and then became an adviser officer in Early Childhood Education Directorate Head Office in Wellington. Subsequent positions have included District Officer of Early Childhood in Wanganui (Oct. 1988-Oct. 1989) and District Manager of Early Childhood in Waikato at the Early Childhood Development Unit (1989 to late 1992). She obtained a Diploma in Teaching in 1986 and a BA in Māori and Education in 1987 from Waikato University. Rahera won the ANZAC fellowship in 1984 and went to Australia to study early childhood education, Aboriginal education and women’s groups, arts and crafts and writing. In 1999 she was appointed chair of the 14 member Maniapoto Māori Trust Board. She is a early childhood education lecturer at Waikato University and a member of Te Rōpu Manukura.

Rahera has written three Māori language story books for preschoolers which were edited by Katarina Mataira and published by the Centre for Māori Studies and Research, University of Waikato, in 1978. The purpose of her children’s books was to act as models for others to write; she sees her role as encouraging other Māori women to write. She would like to write about her hapu, about stories from her childhood and about survival skills.

Biographical sources

  • Interview with Rahera Barrett-Douglas, August 1992.
  • "Trail-blazer Becomes First Māori Woman to Head Tribal Trust Board." Kōkiri Paetae 23 (1999): 3.

    Children's literature

  • Nga Rapeti e Rua. Na Rahera Barrett-Douglas. Na Carl Gukes ngā pikitia [Illus. Carl Gukes]. [Hamilton, N.Z.: Centre for Māori Studies and Research, U of Waikato, 1976?]
  • A simple Māori text for children about the activities of two rabbits.
  • Non-fiction

  • "Nga Kohanga Reo: A Salvage Programme for Māori Language." Ngā Tumanako—Proceedings of Māori Education Development Conference, 1984. 49th ANZAAS Congress, Symposium on Linguistics. Perth, 1983.
  • This was a joint presentation by Rahera Douglas and E. M. K. Douglas.
  • "Report On An ANZAC Fellowship Award, 1984." A Report To The ANZAC Fellowship Committees [Canberra And Wellington, N.Z.] The Australian Early Childhood Association And The New Zealand Department Of Education, Mimeo, 1985.
  • "Equality Of Opportunity Or Equality Of Outcome/Ko Te Taurite O Nga Huarahi, Ko Te Taurite Ranei O Nga Hua." Hugs And Hassles/He Awhi, He Porearea: Parents And Children Growing Together/ Ngā Matua Me Ngā Tamariki Hakapakari Tahi. Ed. Loraine Whitwell. Auckland, N.Z.: New Zealand Playcentre Federation, 1989. 63-67.
  • Barrett-Douglas addresses issues of inequality between Pākehā and Māori children in the education system and looks specifically at the history of Māori involvement in the pre-school movement culminating in Te Kohanga Reo. Barrett-Douglas writes that the goal of Te Kohanga Reo is "to reverse the low status and poor self-image often held by the Māori" but adds that "New Zealand at large must concentrate on investing in Māori social, economic and cultural resources to enable Māori people to make the fullest contribution they are capable of making to the country." She contends that cultural diversity must be introduced in early childhood education and offers some suggestions on how this can be accomplished.
  • "The Rights of the Indigenous Child: Reconciling the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the (Draft) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People with Early Education Policies for Indigenous Children." The International Journal of Children’s Rights 3 (1995): 197.
  • Co-authors Rahera Barrett Douglas and Edward Te Kohu Douglas.
  • Other

  • Te Ao Marama. Na Erana Coulter me Rahera Barrett-Douglas me Aroha Tucker. Na Carl Jukes ngā pikitia. [Hamilton, N.Z.: Centre for Māori Studies and Research, Waikato U, 1979.]
  • Simple Māori text of the sounds of birds and insects at the dawning of a new day.
  • He Harakeke Koe. [Hamilton, N.Z.]: Centre for Māori Studies and Research, U of Waikato, [n.d.]


  • "Trail-blazer Becomes First Māori Woman to Head Tribal Trust Board." Kōkiri Paetae 23 (1999): 3.
  • Benton, Richard A. Materials for Teaching and Learning the Māori Language: A Bibliography of Published Materials for Teaching Māori to Speakers of Other Languages Compiled and Annotated by Richard A. Benton. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Council for Educational Research, Māori Unit, 1979. 20.