Wiremu (Bill) Parker/Paaka

Ngāti Porou

Wiremu Parker was born and raised on a sheep farm on the East Coast and educated at Te Aute College. In 1935 he began studying at Victoria University. "In 1942 he became the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation’s first producer and reader of the news in Māori; 1950 saw his appointment as senior tutor in Māori Adult Education at Victoria; and he became a member of the Māori Purpose Fund Board in 1964. From 1969 to 1970 he was a member of the committee revising the Williams Māori Dictionary. In 1972 he received a fellowship from the Asian South Pacific Association of Cultural Affairs which involved visits to Australia, Japan and Korea. Five years later he was invited to be Patron of the Society of Māori Artists and Writers" [Te Kaea 2 (1980): 6]. In 1979/80 he retired "from his post as senior lecturer in Māori Studies at Victoria University after twenty-nine years of service." Throughout these years, Mr Parker was still involved at Victoria with organisations and sitting on committees of a Māori or national nature. He has frequently been called upon to judge Māori cultural competitions, has served on the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, has been a Māori adviser to the Education Department, and has been a member of the UNESCO sub-committee on education. In 1976 he was awarded the M.B.E. for his services to the community" [Te Kaea 2 (1980): 6]. Parker gave a paper at the 1947 Sixth New Zealand Science Congress entitled "The Present Status of the Māori Language." He was appointed to the Cultural Council of the National Development Council in the early 1970s.

Biographical sources

  • Report of the Sixth Science Congress, Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 77.5 (1947): 357.


  • "The Present Status of the Māori Language." Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 77.5 (1949): 357.
  • Only the abstract and title of the paper by Parker are included here, not the entire text.
  • "Softly, Softly Sweet Sociologist!" Te Kaunihera Māori: New Zealand Māori Council Journal Winter Issue (1968): 85, 87.
  • Co-authored with K. M. Dewes, B. Kernot, M. Jackson, A. J. Metge, and J. Pouwer.
  • Other

  • "Tautoko i Te Puurua." Te Paanui: a Wikitoria. 2. Ed. W. Parker and J. Malcolm. Wellington, N.Z.: [Victoria University], 1979. 3-4.
  • "Ngaa Tohu Taakuta o Wikitooria moo Eruera Maanuera, moo Rangi Metekingi, moo Heenare Ngata." Te Paanui: a Wikitoria. 2. Ed. W. Parker and J. Malcolm. Wellington, N.Z.: [Victoria University], 1979. 8-8b.
  • "Kei Parihi Koe E Tama, Kei Paranihi Raa!" Te Paanui: a Wikitoria. 2. Ed. W. Parker and J. Malcolm. Wellington, N.Z.: [Victoria University], 1979. 12-13.
  • Papers/Presentations

  • "The Changing Face of Māori Leadership." Report of Proceedings South Island Young Māori Leaders Conference 1960, Christchurch, N.Z. 19-21 August 1960. W. Tirikatene. [Christchurch, N.Z.]: Adult Education Dept., U of Canterbury, 1960. 21-25.
  • This paper is divided into three sections: traditional Māori leadership, changes to leadership patterns since European settlement of New Zealand, and the emerging pattern of leadership. Parker asserts that the criteria for leadership in traditional Māori society was primogeniture, male gender, and ‘required qualities of skill, ability and prowess.’ Since the arrival of the European settlers Parker notes that the ‘most obvious effect of social and cultural change on Māori leadership… is the multiplication of classes of leaders.’ He lists the different roles of leaders and notes the changing role of women. In pages 26-31 notes are provided of the discussion that followed this address.
  • Reviews

  • Rev. of Māori Proverbs, by A. E. Brougham and A. W. Reed. Te Ao Hou 48 (1964): 50-51.
  • Rev. of Te Ao Hurihuri: Aspects of Māoritanga, ed. by Michael King. New Zealand Bookworld 18 (Sept. 1975): 26.
  • Sound recordings

  • "Apartheid and the All Blacks: An N.Z.B.S. Discussion." New Zealand Listener: Incorporating N.Z. Radio Record 10 Apr. 1959.4-5.
  • This is the text of an interview conducted by Parker with Rev. Douglas Starkey and Winston McCarthy concerning Māori representation on the 1960 All Black team touring South Africa.
  • He Kōrero Purakau No Te Ao Māori. National Programme.9-25 Feb. 1972.
  • Six talks broadcast twice weekly from 9-25 February 1972.
  • Traditional

  • "Nga Whakatauki/Māori Proverbs and Sayings." Te Ao Hou 54 (1966): 10-11.
  • Parker begins with an introduction to Māori proverbs and gives a list of ten proverbs which relate to ‘the economic aspect of life’. Parker provided the English translations and brief explanatory notes for the following proverbs: Ma mahi, ka ora/By work we prosper; Mauri mahi, mauri ora; mauri noho, mauri mate/Industry begets prosperity, idleness begets poverty; Ma te werawera o tou mata e kai ai koe i te haunga ahi o te kai/By the perspiration on your face you will taste the piquant flavour of cooked food; Ehara i te Aitanga-a- Tiki!/Indeed, a descendant of Tiki (who personified physical effort); Ehara koe i te ringa huti punga!/It is indeed that (powerful) arm that hauls up the anchor of the canoe; Maramara nui a Mahi ka riro i a Noho/The large chips made by Mr Hardwork fall to the share of Mr Sit-still; Waiapu ngau ringa/Waiapu that blisters the hands; Ko te tokomaha a Rangi-whaka-angi/It is the multitude of Rangi-whaka-angi (who personified lightness and ease); Ma tini ma mano ko rapa te whai/By many, by thousands, the work (project) will be accomplished, and Ma pango ma whero ka oti/By black and red together it is done. Parker concludes his article with eight proverbs that are ‘rebukes to idleness’: He kai iana ta te tou e hoake?/Will squatting (at home) on your haunches bring you food?; Kei uta nga hau o Riripa te tu ai/It is on shore that Riripa exerts himself; He hiore tahutahu mo te tangata hiore tahutahu/A lazy dog sticks close to the fire and singes his tail. This fellow does likewise; He huru pioi, he hiore tahutahu, e kore e ngahoro te haunui/A variation of the previous proverb; He nui to ngaromanga, he iti to putanga/You depart with mighty boasts, but you come back having done little. I whea koe i te tangihanga o te riroriro?Where were you when the riroriro [Grey Warbler] appeared; I whea koe i te putanga o te rau o te kotukutuku?/Where were you when the leaves of the kotukutuku [fuschia] began to appear? and Nga waewae haere o Tokoahu/The legs of Tokoahu (which were here, there and everywhere).


  • "A Myth Isn’t Just A Pretty Face: At Least Not To Bill Parker." NZ Listener 7 Feb.1972: 8.
  • In this article Parker’s interest in and study of myths is discussed and his upcoming series of radio broadcasts entitled He Kōrero Purakau No Te Ao Māori is advertised.
  • "N. D. C. Appointment for Bill Parker." Te Māori: The Official Journal of the New Zealand Māori Council 3.1 (1972?): 45.
  • Very brief reference to Parker’s appointment to the Cultural Council of the National Development Council.
  • "Two Retirements: Wiremu Parker. Wiremu Herewini." Te Kaea: The Māori Magazine 2 (Mar./Apr. 1980): 6-7.