|Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu|
|Māori Queen, Queen of the Kingitanga|
|Reign||23 May 1966 – 15 August 2006|
|Coronation||23 May 1966|
|Predecessor||Korokī Te Rata Mahuta Tāwhiao Te Wherowhero|
23 July 1931|
Waahi Marae, Huntly, New Zealand
|Died||15 August 2006
Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia, New Zealand
|Burial||21 August 2006
Mount Taupiri, New Zealand
|Issue||7 children: Heeni Katipa (née Paki); Tomairangi Paki; Tuheitia Paki; Kiki Solomon (née Paki); Mihi Gabrielle Paki; Maharaia Paki; and Te Manawanui Clarkson (née Paki)|
|Father||Korokī Te Rata Mahuta Tāwhiao Te Wherowhero|
|Mother||Te Atairangikaahu Herangi|
Dame Te Atairangikaahu ONZ DBE OStJ (23 July 1931 – 15 August 2006) was the Māori queen for 40 years, the longest reign of any Māori monarch. Her full name and title was Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu. Her title Te Arikinui (meaning Paramount Chief) and name Te Atairangikaahu (meaning the hawk of the morning sky) were bestowed when she became monarch; previously she was known as Princess Piki Mahuta and, after marriage, Princess Piki Paki.
She was born within the marriage of Korokī Mahuta and Te Atairangikaahu Hērangi; Koroki Mahuta fathered older daughters, Tuura the younger of two, both by Tepaia an earlier relationship. Dame Te Atairangikaahu had adopted siblings including Sir Robert Mahuta, whose daughter Nanaia Mahuta is a member of Parliament. Dame Te Atairangikaahu was a descendant of the first Māori king, Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, and succeeded, King Korokī, becoming queen the day Korokī was buried. She attended Rakaumanga Primary School and Waikato Diocesan School for Girls.
In 1952, she married Whatumoana Paki, whose father was from Waikato tribe Ngati Whawhakia and mother from the northern tribe of Te Aupōuri. They had seven children: Tuheitia Paki, Heeni Katipa (née Paki), Tomairangi Paki, Kiki Solomon (née Paki), Mihi Gabrielle Paki, Maharaia Paki, and Te Manawanui Clarkson (née Paki).
In the New Year Honours 1970 Te Atairangikaahu was the first Māori to be appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire, "for outstanding services to the Māori people". On 6 February 1987 Te Atairangikaahu was the first appointee to the Order of New Zealand. and her badge of the order bears the number 1. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from Waikato University in 1973, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Victoria University in 1999. In 1986 she was appointed an Officer of the Order of St John.
In December 2005, she started dialysis treatment when her kidneys began to fail. On 11 July 2006, she suffered a possible heart attack and was admitted to intensive care in Waikato Hospital, Hamilton. She was discharged from hospital later in the month, in time to celebrate her 75th birthday.
Te Atairangikaahu died on 15 August 2006, aged 75, at her official residence, Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia. Six of her seven children were present, with one daughter en route from Australia.
Her death sparked a week of mourning for Māoridom leading to her funeral on 21 August 2006. She is buried on Taupiri mountain in an unmarked grave, as are her ancestors, as a sign of equality with their people. Queen Elizabeth II sent her condolences. Her husband, Whatumoana Paki, had wanted a tombstone for his wife, but members of the royal family do not have grave markings. Instead, Paki paid tribute to his wife by planting a breed of purple roses, named specifically for Te Atairangikaahu, around a memorial stone outside their home.
Although the office of the Māori monarch holds no constitutional function, it is the paramount head of the Waikato federation of tribes with its parliament. In addition to this Te Atairangikaahu was an avid supporter of Maori cultural and sporting events and played an active role in local and global political events involving indigenous issues.
Her official residence was Turongo House in the Turangawaewae Marae complex coupled with Mahinarangi (official reception room for receiving dignitaries) and Raukawa iti (official guest house). She and her husband also resided at Waahi Pa in Huntly during her reign. He continued to live at their residence with his son until his death in 2011.
Tuheitia Paki, her eldest son, was chosen during the mourning period as her successor with the help of a "kingmaker", after the consent of the chiefs of all the leading tribes was sought. Her eldest child, daughter Heeni Katipa, was the next leading contender for the position.
As an elective monarchy, the position is not automatically inherited by primogeniture (Te Atairangikaahu herself was her father's second daughter, though the eldest was not born to his wife), so any one of her children or a leading figure from another iwi could have been appointed.
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- "The Order of New Zealand" (12 February 1987) 20 New Zealand Gazette 705 at 709.
- The London Gazette: . 13 March 1986. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
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- Tahana, Yvonne (2011-09-22). "Maori King's father dies". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- "Four decades of our kind of queen; THEY SAY". The Dominion Post. 27 May 2006.
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