Minister for Māori Development

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Minister for Maori Development
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Nanaia Mahuta (cropped).jpg
Nanaia Mahuta

since 26 October 2017
Ministry of Maori Development
StyleThe Honourable
Member ofExecutive Council
Reports toPrime Minister of New Zealand
AppointerGovernor-General of New Zealand
Term lengthAt Her Majesty's pleasure
Formation27 August 1858
First holderWilliam Richmond
WebsiteMinistry of Māori Development
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The Minister for Māori Development is the minister of the New Zealand government with broad responsibility for government policy towards Māori, the first inhabitants of New Zealand. The Minister heads the Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK, or the Ministry of Māori Development). Between 1947 and 2014 the position was called Minister of Māori Affairs; before that it was known as Minister of Native Affairs. As of 2017, The current Minister for Māori Development is Nanaia Mahuta.[2]


The role of the Minister for Māori Development differs somewhat from those of other ministers. While the Minister for Māori Development does have a government department to supervise (Te Puni Kōkiri, TPK for short, or the Ministry of Māori Development), he or she also has input into other portfolios to the extent that they affect Māori. For example, the Minister for Māori Development would expect to be involved in the development of Māori language policy in the education portfolio, even though education is normally the sole responsibility of the Minister of Education.[3][4]


The office was originally called Minister of Native Affairs, or simply Native Minister. Most early Ministers of Native Affairs were not Māori, although a convention existed that there should be Māori in Cabinet (albeit without portfolio). Prior to the implementation of responsible government, Māori affairs (specifically the purchase of land from Māori by the Crown) had been handled by the Governor.[5]

Attitudes of early Ministers were varied. The first Minister, William Richmond, considered Māori to be savages, and believed that his task was to "reform" Māori by making them more like Europeans. He was particularly hostile to Māori tradition of shared land ownership, considering it "beastly communism".[6] Other Ministers were more friendly to Māori interests — James FitzGerald, the sixth Minister, believed that peaceful co-existence with Māori was vital, and considered the confiscation of Māori land to be an "enormous crime".[7] Other Ministers have varied between these positions.[8]

The first Minister of Native Affairs to be ethnically Māori was James Caroll, appointed by the Liberal Party in the late 19th century.[9] Another prominent Minister of Native Affairs was Āpirana Ngata, also of the Liberals. For the most part, however, early Ministers were Pākehā, although were frequently advised by Māori colleagues.[10] Maui Pomare[11] of the Reform Party and Eruera Tirikatene of the Labour Party were examples of politicians who played a major role in the portfolio without actually holding office.[12] After Caroll and Ngata, it was not until Matiu Rata (1972–1975) that there was another ethnically Māori Minister of Māori Affairs.[13][citation needed]

Under the Maori Purposes Act 1947, the Ministerial title and all other government usage was changed from 'Native' to 'Maori'.[14]

Contemporary times[edit]

In modern times, the tendency has been for the major parties to have Māori as their Māori Affairs spokespeople (and thus as Minister) when possible. The Labour Party has consistently had Māori in this role since the 1970s, while the National Party has had a mixture of Māori and Pākehā.[15]

After the 2014 general election cabinet reshuffle, the title was changed from Minister of Māori Affairs to Minister for Māori Development. While Prime Minister John Key said that there was not really any difference in what the portfolio would involve, "it gives you a sense of where the minister [Flavell] will want to shape the portfolio".[16] During the 2014-2017 term of the Fifth National Government, Te Ururoa Flavell served as the Minister for Māori Development.[17]

Following the formation of the Sixth Labour Government, Nanaia Mahuta was appointed as Minister for Māori Development.[18]

List of Ministers[edit]

The table below lists ministers who have held responsibility for Māori issues. Initially, the title used was Minister of Native Affairs, but the title was changed to Minister of Maori Affairs on 17 December 1947 and then to Minister of Māori Affairs with the insertion of the macron in modern orthography under the Māori Language Commission. In 2014, the title was changed for a fourth time to Minister for Māori Development.


  Independent   Liberal   Reform   United   Labour   National   NZ First   Mauri Pacific   Māori Party

No. Name Portrait Was Māori? Term of Office Prime Minister
As Minister of Native Affairs
1 William Richmond C William Richmond 1888.jpg No 27 August 1858 10 November 1860 Stafford
2 Frederick Weld Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld.jpg No 10 November 1860 12 July 1861
3 Walter Mantell Walter Mantell.jpeg No 12 July 1861 18 December 1861 Fox
4 Dillon Bell Francis Dillon Bell 1881.jpg No 18 December 1861 30 October 1863 Domett
5 William Fox Portrait of Sir William Fox.png No 18 December 1861 30 October 1863 Whitaker
(3) Walter Mantell Walter Mantell.jpeg No 30 October 1863 27 July 1865 Weld
6 James FitzGerald James Edward Fitzgerald 1890.jpg No 27 July 1865 16 October 1865
7 Andrew Russell No image.png No 16 October 1865 24 August 1866 Stafford
8 James Crowe Richmond James Crowe Richmond 1860.jpg No 24 August 1866 28 June 1869
9 Donald McLean Donald McLean, 1870s.jpg No 28 June 1869 7 December 1876 Fox
10 Daniel Pollen Daniel Pollen, ca 1873.jpg No 18 December 1876 13 October 1877
11 John Sheehan John Sheehan, 1884.jpg No 15 October 1877 8 October 1879 Grey
12 John Bryce JohnBryce.jpg No 8 October 1879 21 January 1881 Hall
13 William Rolleston William Rolleston (cropped).jpg No 4 February 1881 19 October 1881
(12) John Bryce JohnBryce.jpg No 19 October 1881 16 August 1884
14 John Ballance John Ballance 1880.jpg No 16 August 1884
3 September 1884
28 August 1884
8 October 1887
15 Edwin Mitchelson Edwin Mitchelson.jpg No 8 October 1887 24 January 1891 Atkinson
(14) John Ballance John Ballance 1880.jpg No 24 January 1891 4 February 1891 Ballance
16 Alfred Cadman Alfred Jerome Cadman (Cropped).jpg No 4 February 1891 29 June 1893
17 Richard Seddon Richard Seddon, 1906.jpg No 29 June 1893 21 December 1899
18 James Carroll JamesCarroll1914.jpg Yes 21 December 1899 28 March 1912
19 William MacDonald William Donald Stuart Macdonald, circa 1910.jpg No 28 March 1912 10 July 1912 Mackenzie
20 William Herries William Herbert Herries, 1921.jpg No 10 July 1912 7 February 1921 Massey
21 Gordon Coates Joseph Gordon Coates, 1931.jpg No 7 February 1921 10 December 1928
22 Āpirana Ngata ApiranaNgata05.jpg Yes 10 December 1928 1 November 1934 Ward
23 George Forbes George William Forbes.jpg No 1 November 1934 6 December 1935
24 Michael Joseph Savage Michael Joseph Savage Portrait.jpg No 6 December 1935 27 March 1940 Savage
25 Frank Langstone Frank Langstone.jpg No 1 April 1940 21 December 1942 Fraser
26 Rex Mason Rex Mason.jpg No 7 July 1943 19 December 1946
27 Peter Fraser Peter Fraser.jpg No 19 December 1946 17 December 1947
As Minister of Maori Affairs
(27) Peter Fraser Peter Fraser.jpg No 17 December 1947 13 December 1949 Fraser
28 Ernest Corbett Ernest Corbett.jpg No 13 December 1949 26 September 1957 Holland
29 Keith Holyoake Keith Holyoake (crop).jpg No 26 September 1957 12 December 1957
30 Walter Nash Walter Nash (ca 1940s).jpg No 12 December 1957 12 December 1960 Nash
31 Ralph Hanan Ralph Hanan portrait.jpg No 12 December 1960 24 July 1969 Holyoake
32 Duncan MacIntyre Duncan MacIntyre Greg Tate (crop).jpg No 22 December 1969 8 December 1972
33 Matiu Rata Matiu Rata.jpg Yes 8 December 1972 12 December 1975 Kirk
(32) Duncan MacIntyre Duncan MacIntyre Greg Tate (crop).jpg No 12 December 1975 13 December 1978 Muldoon
34 Ben Couch No image.png Yes 13 December 1978 26 July 1984
35 Koro Wētere Koro Wetere.jpg Yes 26 July 1984 2 November 1990 Lange
36 Winston Peters Winston Peters - 2017 (38351102806) (cropped).jpg Yes 2 November 1990 2 October 1991 Bolger
37 Doug Kidd Doug Kidd 2014 (cropped).jpg No 2 October 1991 6 November 1993
38 John Luxton John Luxton (cropped).jpg No 6 November 1993 12 October 1996
39 Tau Henare No image.png Yes 12 October 1996 10 December 1999
40 Dover Samuels Dover Samuels.jpg Yes 10 December 1999 28 June 2000 Clark
41 Parekura Horomia Parekura Horomia portrait.jpg Yes 26 July 2000 19 December 2008
As Minister for Māori Affairs
42 Pita Sharples Pita sharples.jpg Yes 19 December 2008 8 October 2014 Key
As Minister for Māori Development
43 Te Ururoa Flavell Te Ururoa Flavell, 2012.jpg Yes 8 October 2014 26 October 2017 Key
44 Nanaia Mahuta Nanaia Mahuta (cropped).jpg Yes 26 October 2017 Incumbent Ardern


  1. ^ "Parliamentary Salaries and Allowances Determination 2016" (PDF). New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Ministry of Māori Development". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Roles and functions". Te Puni Kōkiri. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  4. ^ Luxton, John (2008). The Ministry of Māori Development – Te Puni Kōkiri (2008 ed.). Wellington: New Zealand Business Roundtable. ISBN 9781877394270. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  5. ^ Butterworth and Young, "Appendix 1: Political Heads of the Departments of Maori Affairs," Maori Affairs, pp. 123-124.
  6. ^ Sinclair, Keith. "Richmond, Christopher William". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  7. ^ Macintyre, W. David. "Fitzgerald, James Edward". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  8. ^ Butterworth and Young, Maori Affairs, pp. 5-7.
  9. ^ Butterworth and Young, Maori Affairs, p. 58.
  10. ^ Butterworth and Young, Maori Affairs, pp. 74-78.
  11. ^ Butterworth, Graham. "Pomare, Maui Wiremu Piti Naera". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  12. ^ Ballara, Angela. "Tirikatene, Eruera Tihema Te Aika". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  13. ^ Butterworth and Young, Maori Affairs, pp. 107-110.
  14. ^ Butterworth and Young, Maori Affairs, pp. 123-124.
  15. ^ "Māori Ministers". New Zealand History. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  16. ^ Bennett, Adam (6 October 2014). "Flavell given portfolio renamed to reflect 'new focus' on Maori future". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Hon Te Ururoa Flavell". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Ministerial List". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Retrieved 26 October 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]