Rina Winifred Moore

Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Whānau a Apanui

1923 - 1975

Rina Moore was born in Auckland, the only daughter of Tipi Tainui Ropiha (Ngāti Kahungunu) and Rhoda Walker (Whanau-a-Apanui). She was raised in Remuera and was educated by an English nanny up to the age of eight. In 1943 she went to Otago University where she studied medicine and graduated in 1948 becoming the first Māori woman to qualify as a doctor. Rina worked as an assistant medical officer and later as the medical officer at Ngawhatu Psychiatric Hospital in Nelson for fifteen years. In 1963 she resigned and travelled overseas. When she returned to New Zealand she established a Family Advisory Clinic which was a private psychiatric and counselling clinic. In 1975 she died at the age of fifty-two after suffering a mild stroke and a recurrence of cancer. "She wrote four papers for the fourth International Congress on Social Psychiatry held in Israel in 1972. All were accepted. They covered issues such as urban migration, education, health, and mental health: problems facing Māori people and lower socio-economic groups, and relevant to minority races worldwide."

Biographical sources

  • Beatson, Karin. The Book of New Zealand Women: Ko Kui Ma Te Kaupapa. Ed. Charlotte MacDonald, Merimeri Penfold and Bridget Williams. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams, 1991. 455-457.


  • "A View From The Younger Generation." Te Ao Hou 30 (1960): 29-31.
  • Moore writes her impressions of the 1959 Young Māori Leaders’ Conference and comments on the confidence and maturity of the delegates. She examines some of the difficulties of marrying Māori values with European customs particularly in the business world.
  • "Māori Health in 1960." Dr Rina Moore. Report of Proceedings South Island Young Māori Leaders Conference 1960, Christchurch, N.Z. 19-21 August 1960. W. Tirikatene. [Christchurch, N.Z.]: Adult Education Department, U of Canterbury, 1960. 48-54. Rpt. as "The State of Māori Health." in Te Ao Hou 33 (1960): 6-11.
  • This paper, presented by Moore to the South Island Conference of Young Māori Leaders in 1960 in Christchurch, N.Z., examines the physical and mental health of the Māori. Moore begins by giving an assessment of Māori physical health and she notes that while ‘the natural increase rate of the Māori is one of the highest in the world’, Māori life expectancy is shorter than that of the Pakeha and the Māori death-rate is greater than that of the Pakeha, especially in the under 45 age group. Moore examines the causes of poor health under the following headings: poor housing and overcrowding; poor water and poor sanitation, and lack of education, and she presents some reasons why Māori do not seek professional medical help. In the second part of this paper, Moore looks at mental ill-health and differing I.Q. levels, and provides explanations as to why in rural areas some Māori children have a below average I.Q. level. Moore also discusses the high accident rate of the Māori, anxiety neurosis and delinquency.