Wiremu William Tuakana Ngata

Ngāti Porou

1907 - 1980

Wiremu Ngata, the son of Sir Apirana Ngata, was probably born in Waiomatatini and was educated at Waiomatatini Native School and Te Aute College. Ngata continued his studies at Canterbury University College for two years and was a teacher at Te Aute College from He enlisted for the 28th Māori Battalion in 1939, was wounded in Crete in 1941, and returned to the Battalion after hospitalisation. On his return from the war, Ngata worked for Māori Affairs and travelled around New Zealand recording waiata from the different areas. These recordings are held in Radio New Zealand archives. In 1961 Ngata was appointed private secretary to the Minister of Māori Affairs, Hon. J. R. Hanan. He became editor of the Māori text of Te Ao Hou from its first issue until mid 1961 when N. P. K. Puriri took his place.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Sir Henare Ngata, 4 Aug. 1998 and 29 July 2004.
  • Phone conversation with Whai Ngata, 19 Sept. 1998.
  • "Secretary to Minister." Te Ao Hou 35 (1961): 55.


  • "Ko Te Whakaako O Te Reo Māori/The Teaching of Māori." Te Ao Hou 24 (1958): 24-27.
  • A report in Māori and English on a Māori Language Teaching Week held in Rotorua in May 1958 which was attended by some forty-five Māori language teachers. Ngata sums up the eleven remits that were sent to the Education Department at the completion of the week which focused on the need to provide Māori children with more opportunities to learn te reo Māori and Māori culture at primary and secondary school level, and the provision of further training for Māori language teachers.
  • Other

  • "Introduction To Māori Poetry by Sir Apirana Ngata: Supplement to ‘Toa Takitini’." Arachne 3 (Dec. 1951): 2-7.
  • Te Ropu O Te Rangatahi O Te Rau Tau Ki Muri. Te Wharekura Ser. No. 12. [Wellington, N.Z.]: Department of Education, [1967?]
  • Sound recordings

  • Let’s Learn Māori. E.P. Records, 1952. Published Wellington, N.Z.: A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1958.
  • Learning to Speak Māori. 6 LPs. Kiwi Records EC41-46, 1971. Wellington, N.Z.: Reed, 1971.
  • Catalogue of Māori Purposes Fund Board Recordings. Rec. 1953-58. MPFB 1-120. Ed. Mervyn McLean. Auckland, N.Z.: Archive of Māori and Pacific Music, Anthropology Dept., U of Auckland, N.Z., 1983. 2nd ed. 1995.
  • In his Introduction Mervyn McLean writes that ‘[t]he Māori Purposes Fund Board collection of tape recordings was recorded in association with the then New Zealand Broadcasting Service (NZBC) by the late Mr W. T. Ngata in the East Coast, Northland and other tribal areas between 1953 and 1958. It consists primarily of traditional waiata (love songs and laments), together with speeches in Māori, hymns in Māori and action songs, and runs to approximately 60 hours of tape.’ This publication lists the recordings made by W.T. Ngata under the following headings "East Coast and Hawkes Bay 1953", "Royal Visit 1953-54", "Bay of Plenty and East Coast 1954", "West Coast, Taumarunui, Hawkes Bay and East Coast 1955", "Northland 1956", "Ngaruawahia 1956", "Masterton 1957", "Ngaruawahia 1958", "Incompletely Identified" and concludes indexes of performers, recordings in Nga Moteatea, Māori Hymn Book and the McLean collection, and Concordances.
  • Traditional

  • Love Legends of the Māori: New Zealand. W. T. Ngata. [?]: Viking, [?] [Wellington, N.Z.: Coulls Somerville Wilkie, 1962.] Rpt. in Māori Songs of New Zealand. Collected and arranged for piano by Sam Freedman. Text on the Māori People and Māori Music by James Siers. Text on Māori Love Legends by W. T. Ngata. Wellington, N.Z.: Sevenseas, 1967. 30-41.
  • In this slim volume with colour photographs by H. Sieben, Ngata provides an account of the love legends of Puhihuia and Te Ponga, Raumahora and Takarangi, Hinemoa and Tutanekai, Mahinarangi and Turongo, Pania, and Uenuku and Kura.


  • "Secretary to Minister." Te Ao Hou 35 (1961): 55.
  • This short article notes Ngata’s appointment as secretary to the Minister of Māori Affairs, Hon. J. R. Hanan in 1961.
  • Benton, Richard A. Materials for Teaching and Learning the Māori Language: A Bibliography Of Published Materials For Teaching Māori To Speakers Of Other Languages. Wellington, N.Z.: New Zealand Council for Educational Research, Māori Unit, 1979. 13
  • Taylor, C. R. H. A Bibliography of Publications on the New Zealand Māori and the Moriori of the Chatham Islands. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, Oxford UP, 1972. 74.
  • Reviews

    Let’s Learn Māori,
  • Bennett, Hemi. Te Ao Hou 23 (1958): 55.
  • Te Ropu o te Rangatahi o te rau tau ki muri.
  • Dewes, Kapunga. Te Ao Hou 59 (1967): 60-61.