Gary Potonga Neilson

Ngā Rauru, Ngāi Tahu

1938 -

Gary Potonga Neilson was born in Wanganui and was educated at Castlecliff Primary School. He has worked as a shearer, freezing worker, mechanic, welder, boat builder and social worker for Maatua Whangai, Social Welfare in Wanganui. He has chaired the Nga Rauru Trust and has worked on research for a Nga Rauru claim to the Waitangi Tribunal. Gary is an active correspondent to the Editor through the pages of the Wanganui Chronicle and has had articles on fisheries, land, muru raupatu, and Māori Incorporations published in the Taranaki Daily News. From 1991-1993 he had articles published in Mana Tangata, a Māori newspaper published in Wanganui.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Potonga Neilson, 2 Feb. and 18 Apr. 1998.


  • "Real story should be told." Tu Tangata 35 (Apr/May 1987): 2.
  • Neilson writes of ‘the disproportionate numbers of Māori in court and in prisons and institutions’, and asserts that the justice system appears to be doing little to address this imbalance. Neilson presents some explanations for the high level of Māori offending, but advocates that ‘as well as Māori language being taught in schools, we should be demanding that the real history of the Māori people should also be taught.’
  • "Pakeha Myths and Legends." Mana Tangata Māori Newspaper 4 Dec. [1992]: 5.
  • Neilson examines and refutes various myths in New Zealand society concerning the Māori and asserts that one of the greatest myths has been that western civilisation is beneficial to all people including the Māori.
  • "Te Tiriti o Waitangi." Mana Tangata Māori Newspaper 4 [Feb. 1992]: 2.
  • Neilson discusses Treaty of Waitangi grievances and their impact on Māori, citing specific incidences suffered by the Ngarauru people.
  • "Land never abandoned, never sold with real title." Taranaki Daily News 10 Dec. 1997.
  • Neilson writes of the changing state of the Taranaki tribes before and after colonisation, noting that colonial greed not only wrought a terrible price on Taranaki Māori economically but also spiritually. Neilson questions whether the materialistic world of the Pakeha and the pursuit of capitalism is the right direction for Māori. He refutes Peter Moeahu’s ‘rosy picture of the situation in Taranaki re West Coast leases and the PKW’ published in The Taranaki Daily News "Saturday Forum" on 29 Nov. 1997, calling into question the whole process of imposing individual land titles on Māori last century which resulted in many Taranaki Māori being dispossessed of their land.


  • Keenan, Wikitoria. "Oku Whakaaro (my thoughts)." Taranaki Times 15 Aug. 1994. No further details.