Waihoroi (Wassie) Paraone Shortland

Ngāti Hine, Te Aupouri, Ngā Puhi

1952 -

Paraone Shortland was born in Kawakawa, grew up in Matawai and was educated at St. Stephen’s School, Bombay, Auckland. He studied toward a Diploma in physical education at Otago in the early 1970s and completed a Diploma in Social Work from Victoria University in He has worked as a clerk for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and as a clerk and interpreter for the Māori Land Court. He was a community officer for the Department of Māori Affairs and later became a journalist working in television, radio and print. He worked for Mana Māori Media in Auckland and is currently working freelance as a writer and television producer. He writes non-fiction articles, television scripts, dramas, and waiata, and formerly chaired Te Ha (the Māori Writers’ Society). In the special edition of New Zealand Geographic 5 (1990), which was devoted to the world of the Māori, Shortland wrote a number of introductory pieces. He wrote a television drama called ITFM which was screened on TVNZ in 1994 in the Nga Puna Series. He wrote a Māori language short story entitled "Te Kehua o Kura Hapine" which was a finalist in the Huia Short Stories 1997 awards. He produced a television debate series called Nga Kaka Wahanui in Shortland has worked as an actor in various television programmes and films including The Governor, Homeward Bound (TV series), Rapanui, and Oma Rapeti (He Taonga). He acted in the role of Shylock in the 1990 stage version of The Merchant of Venice in the Koanga Festival in Auckland in1990 and in the Māori film version of Shakespeare’s play. He also acted in Rain Of The ChildrenHe was Māori consultant and in charge of Māori dialogue in The Piano and wrote a script for a full-length movie called Crooked Earth. He has worked as a commissioner for the Māori Language Commission and is totally committed to the Māori language. He states: "For me, its payback time to a language which has supported me in everything I have done. There are things I have to do to sustain life; language is my passion."

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation with Shortland in 1997.


  • "Te Kotuku Rerenga Tahi/The White Heron of Single Flight." Te Ao Hou 71 (1973): 53.
  • This waiata, written in Māori and English, when Shortland was a student at St Stephen’s School, Bombay, was used to welcome the Hon. Duncan McIntyre, Minister of Māori Affairs when he visited St Stephen’s School. The white heron, according to Māori mythology, made one single flight to Tikitiki-o-rangi in the eleventh heaven and the imagery of the white heron is used to welcome special guests.
  • Non-fiction

  • ‘The "Kill A White" Incident At The University Of Auckland, Marae.’ Sites: A Journal for Radical Perspectives on Culture 21 (Spring 1990): 130-133.
  • Shortland writes a critique of the reportage and publishing by the Sunday Star of a story headed "Kill a White" in reference to reported comments made by Hana Jackson and others at a function for new law students at the Auckland University marae, and Shortland outlines the journalistic guidelines which were disregarded in this story
  • "Inside The Māori Darkroom." New Zealand Geographic 5 (Jan./Mar. 1990): 87.
  • Shortland writes his understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi and introduces a series of articles published in this issue of New Zealand Geographic which present ‘a backdrop to a Māori perspective of the treaty.’
  • Introduction. In "The Unseen World." Father Henare Tate. New Zealand Geographic 5 (Jan./Mar. 1990): 87-91.
  • Shortland introduces Tate’s article by commenting on the meaning of the hongi - ‘a physical expression of our meeting on a spiritual level’ and notes that Pakeha and Māori wairua ‘do not sit comfortably together’.
  • Introduction. In "The Power of Te Reo." Selwyn Muru. New Zealand Geographic 5 (Jan./Mar. 1990): 99-102.
  • In this introduction to Muru’s article Shortland writes of the importance of te reo Māori and the need to make sure it endures for future generations.
  • Introduction. In "The Meaning Of Mana." Chris Winitana. New Zealand Geographic 5 (Jan./Mar. 1990): 107-111.
  • Shortland notes the dual aspects of mana which depend on how it is treated. He writes ‘If mana allows us to walk tall, then it also casts a long shadow - humility.’
  • Introduction. In "The Clue To Identity." Timoti Karetu. New Zealand Geographic 5 (Jan./Mar. 1990): 112-117.
  • In this introduction to Karetu’s article Shortland writes of his turangawaewae at Matawaia.
  • "Paradise Lost." Mana: The Māori News Magazine for All New Zealanders 1 (1993): 46-47.
  • A discussion on the relationship between the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Māori All Blacks.
  • "Kingi Ihaka: A Regal Life." Mana: The Māori Magazine for All New Zealanders 2 (Apr./May 1993): 67-71.
  • Co-authored with Derek Fox.
  • "Radio Wha Waho – It’s Not All Smiles; They Don’t Laugh – They Cringe." Mana: The Māori Magazine for All New Zealanders 5 (Feb./Mar. 1994): 46-49.
  • Co-authored with Debra Reweti.
  • "Ki Te Kore Te Reo He Aha I Warea Ai?" Mana: The Māori Magazine for All New Zealanders 12 (Aut. 1996): 38.
  • "Join The Reo Junkies." Mana: The Māori Magazine for All New Zealanders 22 (Jun./July 1998): 37-38.
  • "He Maimai Aroha." Mana: The Māori Magazine for All New Zealanders 28 (Jun./July 1999): 6-11.
  • "Farewelling ‘The Don’." Mana: The Māori Magazine for All New Zealanders 77 (Aug./Sept. 2007): 10-12.


  • Bidois, Eliza. "Four New Voices." Mana: The Māori News Magazine for All New Zealanders 6 (1994): 56-58.