Te Whakaotinga Ronald Smith (Te Mete)

Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Apa

1933 -

He was born in Ratana and educated at Wanganui Technical College. Smith trained in the air force in the Maritime Squadron based at Hobsonville in the 1950s. He has worked as a printer, film producer, restaurateur, and musician. He is managing director of Puff ‘n’ Billy Quality Foods Limited in Matamata and is chair of Te Omeka Marae Trust. In conjunction with Geoff Murphy and Merata Mita, Smith was an executive producer for the film Mauri directed by Mita. He is president of a Ratana National Charitable Trust and is a former dominion secretary of the Ratana Youth Organisation. He was awarded the MBE in 1987. He was a Social Credit candidate for Eastern Māori in 1963. He is a Church Apostle of the Ratana church. He was formerly a chair of the Ratana Church Executive Council (the advisory council of the President of the Ratana Church). He has been musical director for Howard Morrison in Australia and Hawaii. He was a professional jazz musician and performed in his own clubs in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in the 1960s. He wrote songs and a musical called after Buck’s ‘Viking of the Sunrise’ which was performed at Te Omeka Marae.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation with Smith, 29 July 1998.
  • New Zealand Who’s Who Aotearoa. Ed. Alister Taylor. Vol. 1. Auckland, N.Z.: New Zealand Who’s Who Aotearoa, 1992: 268.


  • The Passing Years 1937-87: Te Omeka Pa. Matamata, N.Z.: Te Omeka Marae, 1987.
  • Smith wrote this publication on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Te Omeka marae which was opened by T.W. Ratana in 1937. Smith discusses the rationale behind creating the marae which represented ‘a location of the church inside Waikato and became a liaison between the Ratana and Kingitanga’. It also provided Ratana adherents in the Northern region opportunities for church services, visitation and pilgrimage. Smith provides a history of the Ratana Church noting its origins in November 1918.