Nganeko Kaihau Minhinnick

Ngāti Te Ata

1939 -

Nganeka Minhinnick was born at Waiuku. In 1969 she won the Young Māori Woman of the Year award. She has written work mainly for tribal use and composes waiata to record her tribe’s history. She has written some stories under pen-names. She published her first piece of work in 1958. She is "Kaitiaki for Ngāti Te Ata taonga and tikanga. [She] has appeared in many courts and forums to protect taonga and tikanga, even regularly attending United Nations meetings on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva and New York." She is a J.P. and has a Māori Interpreter’s licence.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Minhinnick 16 Feb. and 24 Mar. 1998.
  • "Rangatahi Weekend." Te Ao Hou 68 (1969): 38-39.
  • Minhinnick, Nganeka. "Te Puaha Ki Manuka: Māori Guardians of the Manukau." Waiora, Waimāori, Waikino, Waimate, Waitai. Papers Given to Seminar on Water and the Environment. Hamilton, N.Z.: Centre for Māori Studies, U of Waikato, 1984. 31.
  • Minhinnick, Nganeka. "Kaitiaki o Manukau." Broadsheet 176 (Mar. 1990): 22-25.
  • Te Ha questionnaire.


  • "Te Puaha Ki Manuka: Māori Guardians of the Manukau." Waiora, Waimāori, Waikino, Waimate, Waitai. Papers given to Seminar on Water and the Environment. Hamilton, N.Z.: Centre for Māori Studies, U of Waikato, 1984. 35-36.
  • An impassioned portrayal of the countless efforts to protect and preserve the Manukau by Ngāti Te Ata, and their constant struggle against dismissive government departments, New Zealand Steel and the Auckland Regional Authority. Abiding by the counsel of Ngāi Te Ata kaumatua to follow the letter of the law, Minhinnick and others have tried for over four years to ‘meet all the legal requirements’ only to be side-tracked, ignored and misunderstood at every turn. Minhinnick observes that there has been little provision for Māori values in the Water and Soil Conservation Act, that Māori spiritual values have been ignored and that dollars and cents have become the guiding force in dealing with the Manukau.
  • "Kaitiaki o Manukau." Broadsheet 176 (Mar. 1990): 22-25.
  • Pat Rosier discusses with Minhinnick and Kamera Katipa of Ngāti Te Ata Minhinnick’s vision to see a body of kaitiaki established to provide guidance for the use of the Manukau Habour and its surrounding areas. Minhinnick talks about her paper Establishing Kaitiaki, written under contract for the Resource Management Law Reform, and describes her tribe’s steps towards self-determination, sovereignty and self-government in the Manukau area. Katipa discusses his role in training people as kaitiaki, cleaning the harbour and preparing for controlled commercial fishing in the future.
  • Papers/Presentations

  • Establishing Kaitiaki: a Paper. Auckland, N.Z.: Nganeko Kaihua Minhinnick, 1989.
  • In this paper written under contract to the Government’s Resource Management Law Reform Minhinnick writes that the Waitangi Tribunal’s response (June 1985) to the Manukau Claim noted ‘the failure of existing resource law to properly deal with the rights of tangata whenua and the demands on the harbour for sewerage and industrial discharges, major development works, commercial fishing etc... [and] specifically recommended a review of planning laws and the establishment of a body of Kaitaiki.’ Minhinnick provides a framework for the recommended body of Kaitiaki and writes that its scope would be ‘to ensure the protection of marine life, the aquatic environment, the harbour bed, the coastal surrounds, the natural waters and the mana of the Māori people.’ Minhinnick provides definitions of tangatawhenua, manawhenua, and ahi kaa, writes of spiritual and physical kaitiaki, discusses the appointment of kaitiaki and the role, scope and philosophy of kaitiaki. This report concludes with two options for the facilitation of the kaitiaki vision: the first option suggests an Auckland Region Resource Management Authority composed of equal numbers of a tribal kaitiaki and a resource committee of the Auckland Regional Council; the second option suggests a ‘[f]ully funded kaitiaki’ taking ‘100% responsibility and authority over land and waterways.’


  • "Rangatahi Weekend." Te Ao Hou 68 (1969): 38-39.
  • Records Minhinnick winning the Young Māori Woman of the Year competition.
  • "Māori woman Reviews Year." Te Māori: The Official Journal of the New Zealand Māori Council 1.6 (Nov./Dec. 1970): 31.
  • Minhinnick discusses her year as the 1969 Māori Woman of the Year.
  • Bercusson, Linda. "Guardian Angles." Listener & TV Times 11 Feb. 1991: 10-11.
  • Bercusson writes of the fight by Minhinnick and Carmen Kirkwood to regain Tainui’s traditional role as kaitiaki of the Manukau Harbour.
  • Reviews

    Establishing Kaitiaki: a Paper.
  • Te Iwi o Aotearoa 21 (May 1989): 23.