Puti Tipene Watene
|Puti Tipene Watene|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Eastern Maori
|Preceded by||Tiaki Omana|
|Succeeded by||Paraone Reweti|
|Born||18 August 1910
Kirikiri, Thames, New Zealand
|Died||14 June 1967
Parliament Buildings, Wellington, New Zealand
Puti Tipene (Steve) Watene (18 August 1910 – 14 June 1967), of Ngāti Maru and Te Arawa, was a New Zealand rugby league player and politician. He was the first Māori to captain the New Zealand league side and he is the only person to both represent the New Zealand Kiwis and become a Member of Parliament.
A strong member of the Mormon faith, Watene was born in Thames in 1910. He attended Thames High School, Opotiki District High School and then the Māori Agriculture College in the Hawkes Bay before he moved to Auckland where he worked as a labourer and a clerk.
In Auckland Watene joined the City rugby league club in the Auckland Rugby League competition and represented and captained Auckland, before joining the Manukau club as a foundation member in 1936. He was the club's captain and played a major role in attracting many other Māori players to the club. As a result, Manukau quickly became a force in the Auckland competition, winning both the Fox Memorial and Roope Rooster in their debut year. He also played for the New Zealand Māori rugby league team, leading them to a famous victory over Australia in 1937.
Watene was first selected for the New Zealand Kiwis while only 19 in 1930 and played for them until 1937. He also captained the New Zealand national rugby league team in 1936 and 1937, becoming the first Māori to do so.
He moved to Petone in 1956, working as a hostel manager and industrial welfare officer, and between 1962 and 1965 he served on the Petone Borough Council.
Watene also served on the New Zealand Māori Council.
Member of Parliament
|New Zealand Parliament|
A member of the New Zealand Labour Party, Watene had served on the national executive for six years before being elected as the Member of Parliament for Eastern Maori in November 1963, following the retirement of Ratana MP Tiaki Omana. As a Mormon, Watene's election broke the Ratana stranglehold on the Māori seats.
- Coffey and Wood The Kiwis: 100 Years of International Rugby League ISBN 1-86971-090-8
- Steve Watene, nzrl.co.nz, Accessed 16 August 2009
- Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand parliamentary record, 1840–1984 (4 ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 244. OCLC 154283103.
- Henare, Manuka. "Watene, Puti Tipene". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
- Tribute to the late P. T. (Steve) Watene The Maori Magazine, September 1967
- Unveiling at Petone The Maori Magazine, September 1968
|New Zealand Parliament|
|Member of Parliament for Eastern Maori