Ropata Pakai

Ngāti Kahungunu

Ropata Pakai came to the place where she was "sick of the pakeha side of the stories being told most of the time to the exclusion of the Māori side." Recently she has taken two courses at Massey University in human development and in 1986 she was recruited onto one of the Introductory Journalism Courses organised by Tu Tangata. All her five children have grown up surrounded with her stories and poetry. "I’ve listened to my elders and I’ve asked questions. Now I want to write. I’m sick of seeing my people mistreated and misunderstood in different systems - judicial, welfare or whatever."

Biographical sources

  • "Crane Drivers Work Their Way To The Top." Tu Tangata 34 (1987): 13.


  • "Across The Cultures." Tu Tangata 34 (1987): 47.
  • While waiting for her takeaway meal to be cooked, the narrator strikes up a conversation with the elderly Chinese cook who tells her about his early experiences coming to New Zealand as a boy from China.
  • Music

  • "Crane Drivers Work Their Way To The Top." Tu Tangata 34 (1987): 13.
  • Ropata writes of the work of crane drivers in Wellington, N.Z.
  • "The Woman Behind The Face." Tu Tangata 34 (1987): 46.
  • Ropata gives a brief account of the experiences of Iranui Potae-Haig and Tai Pewhairangi, kaumatua of Whanau-o-Ruataupare o Tokomaru, when they travelled to Chicago as part of ‘Te Hokinga Mai Te Māori’.


  • "Former canner turns writer." Tu Tangata 34 (1987): 46.
  • A short biography on Pakai noting her participation in a Tu Tangata Introductory Journalism Course in 1986 and her conviction that it is time for the Māori side to be presented in journalism.