Tūheitia Paki

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Tūheitia Paki
Māori King
King Tuheitia Paki 2009.jpg
Reign 21 August 2006 – present
Coronation 21 August 2006
Predecessor Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu
Born (1955-04-21) 21 April 1955 (age 62)
Spouse Te Atawhai
Issue Whatumoana
Full name
Tūheitia Paki
House Te Wherowhero
Father Whatumoana Paki
Mother Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu

Tūheitia Paki, KStJ, GCCT, KCLJ (born 21 April 1955), crowned as Te Arikinui Kiingi Tūheitia, is the current Māori King in New Zealand. He is the eldest son of the previous Māori monarch, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, and was announced as her successor and crowned on 21 August 2006, the same day her tangihanga (funeral rites) took place.


Tūheitia Paki is the son of Whatumoana Paki and Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, who married in 1952. He was educated at Rakaumanga School in Huntly, Southwell School in Hamilton and St Stephen's College in Bombay, south of Auckland. He has five sisters and one brother: Heeni Katipa (née Paki); Tomairangi Paki; Mihi ki te ao Paki; Kiki Solomon (née Paki); Manawa Clarkson (née Paki), and brother Maharaia Paki.[1]

He is married to Atawhai and has three children: Whatumoana, Korotangi, and Ngawai Hono I Te Po.[2] After Paki's ascent to the throne, Atawhai was appointed patroness of the Māori Women's Welfare League in 2007.[3]

Paki has diabetes and announced in 2013 that due to his health he was establishing Te Kaunihera a te Kiingi (King's Council) and deputising his elder son Whatumoana Te Aa Paki to act in his stead.[4][5] As the King's representative, Whatumoana was given the title Te Whirinaki a te Kīngi, the title held by Te Wherowhero Tāwhiao while he acted for King Mahuta in the early 1900s.[6][7]

Duties and background[edit]

Prior to becoming King, he was the Tainui Cultural Advisor to Te Wānanga o Aotearoa at Huntly.

He speaks publicly only once a year, at the annual celebrations in Ngaruawahia of his coronation.[8] Since ascending to the throne his official duties have included attending the following events:

Political issues[edit]

In March 2010, the King threatened to abdicate his title if tribal members "[did] not fall back into line."[12] He made the announcement after members of the tribe's parliament, Te Kauhanganui, questioned his use of tribal funds and his choice of company directors.[13] His office denied that he mentioned abdication.[14] At the heart of the allegations is the spending of Paki's office which has risen to an annual $1.2 million compared to $250,000 under his mother, with much of the spending going on travel.[15] The funds are provided by Tainui, which has assets worth more than $1 billion.[16]

In December 2010 he attempted to sack the Te Kauhanganui chairperson Tania Martin, Hiiona Marae's elected representative on Te Kauhanganui, in connection with a report which she tabled detailing financial issues.[17] However, the constitutional rules of Tainui's Parliament only allow for Te Kauhanganui itself to elect or remove its chairperson.[citation needed] As of January 2011, Mrs Martin remains the chairperson of Te Kauhanganui, having been reaffirmed by a vote.[18][19]

In March 2011, issues arose over travel expenses for Te Makau Ariki Atawhai and Te Ariki Tamaroa Whatumoana, Paki's consort and son.[20]

In June 2011, David Rankin of the Ngāpuhi iwi attacked both Paki and the Governments' use of the term "Māori King" to describe him, saying that not only had tribes such as Ngāpuhi never supported the kingitanga movement, but that Paki "[hadn't] even got the Reo" (or Māori language).[21]


On 27 November 2007, Paki was appointed an Officer of the Venerable Order of Saint John[22][23] and upgraded to a Knight in 2016.[24] He was appointed to Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Tonga during the coronation ceremonies of King George Tupou V of Tonga.[25] In 2010 he was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Lazarus.[26]


  1. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (24 September 2011). "Obituary: Whatumoana Paki". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Mahi". Website of the Kiingitanga. Office of the Kiingitanga. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Speech to the Maori Women's Welfare League National Conference - Rt Hon John Key". johnkey.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Son to take over Maori King's duties". Radio New Zealand. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "Kiingi Tuheitia establishes Te Kaunihera a te Kiingi". Scoop. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Smallman, Elton (18 June 2013). "Ailing Tuheitia to take break from king duties". Waikato Times. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  7. ^ "Te Whirinaki a te Kingi delivers Koroneihana speech". Māori Television. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  8. ^ Preston, Nikki (22 August 2011). "Maori King speaks of challenges". nzherald.co.nz. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Mauri Ora: Treasures from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa - Tokyo National Museum, Japan
  10. ^ Mauri Ora: Treasures from Museum of NZ in Japan
  11. ^ "New Zealands first Maori Garden opens to the public". scoop.co.nz. 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2011. As part of the Productive Garden Collection at Hamilton Gardens, Te Parapara was officially opened in 2008 by His Excellency Anand Satyanand and Te Arikinui Tuheitia Paki, the Maori King. However, December's unveiling will open an area housing a number of precious artisan carvings which were previously inaccessible to the public. 
  12. ^ Akuhata, Karla (2 March 2010). "Maori King threatens to abdicate". Waikato Times. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Maori King threatens to abdicate after actions criticised". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  14. ^ Akuhata, Karla (3 March 2010). "Maori King did 'not use those words'". The Waikato Times. 
  15. ^ Pepperell, Susan (March 14, 2010). "Maori King 'must open books'". Stuff. Retrieved 2017-10-16. 
  16. ^ Gibson, Anne (2015-07-24). "Tribe powers ahead as assets grow to $1.2 billion". NZ Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2017-10-16. 
  17. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (7 December 2010). "King uses supreme power in sacking". The New Zealand Herald. 
  18. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (29 January 2011). "Enigma of a strong Kingitanga woman who's staying staunch". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 25 November 2011. 
  19. ^ Masters, Catherine (8 October 2011). "What's eating Tainui?". nzherald.co.nz. Retrieved 22 October 2011. 
  20. ^ Tahana, Yvonne (11 March 2011). "Royal travel bill $64,360". nzherald.co.nz. Retrieved 6 June 2011. Te Makau Ariki Atawhai and Te Ariki Tamaroa Whatumoana. 
  21. ^ "'The King of Huntly, perhaps'". stuff.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "Order of St John". The Gazette. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  23. ^ "Yearbook 2008" (PDF). St John NZ. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  24. ^ "Kiingi Tuheitia coronation commemorations". gg.govt.nz. Office of the Governor-General of New Zealand. August 21, 2016. Retrieved 2017-10-17. On 21 August, the Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine attended commemorations at Turangawaewae to mark the 10th anniversary of the coronation of Kiingi Tuheitia. 
  25. ^ Buyers, Christopher. "Tonga". The Royal Ark. Christopher Buyers. Retrieved 16 August 2014. [not in citation given]
  26. ^ "Kiingi Tuheitia invested as Knight Commander". Scoop. 9 March 2010. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 

External links[edit]

Māori royalty
Preceded by
Te Atairangikaahu
Māori monarch
2006 –present
Succeeded by