Whatumoana Paki

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Whatumoana Paki QSO (2 February 1927 – 22 September 2011) was a New Zealand Māori royal elder. Paki was the husband of the Māori Queen, Te Atairangikaahu, who reigned from 1966 to 2006.[1][2] He and Te Atairangikaahu were the parents of the present Māori King, Tuheitia Paki.[1]


Paki was born in Huntly. His father was Wetere Paki of the Ngāti Whawhakia subtribe of the Waikato tribe.[3] His mother Frances Paki (née Brown) was from Te Aupōuri,[3][4] the northernmost Māori iwi, or tribal group, in New Zealand. Paki worked as a farmer and coalminer during his early career.[1] He became one of the principal maintenance people for Māori marae located along the Waikato River, which includes the Mangatautari marae.[1]

By the 1950s, Paki began dating Princess Piki Mahuta,[1] the only daughter of both King Korokī and his wife Te Atairangikaahu Hērangi. The couple married in 1952.[1] They had seven children - Heeni Wharemaru, Kiri Tokia Ete Tomairangi, Tuheitia, Maharaia, Mihikiteao, Kiki and Te Manawanui.[1] They lived at Waahi Pā in Huntly, in a home Paki helped to build.[1][5]

King Korokī died in 1966. Paki's wife succeeded her father as Māori Queen and became known as Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu.[1] As the consort of the Queen, Paki had to step back from public statements and defer public opinions to her. Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi, a longtime friend of Paki, recalled that Paki told her of his expected role within the monarchy, "He shared with me that a kaumatua told him, 'Just remember that you must leave all the statements to her.' For a man who had a very strong mind that can't have been easy. Gosh, I know some men who wouldn't have done that for anything. But he did it with panache and he was a tower of strength behind Dame Te Ata."[1]

In the 1991 New Year Honours, Paki was appointed a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for community service.[6]

Dame Te Atairangikaahu died in 2006 after 54 years of marriage. Paki's son Tuheitia Paki, succeeded his mother as Māori king. Paki had wanted a tombstone for his wife, but members of the royal family of Tainui, called kāhui ariki, are not permitted to have monuments at their graves.[2] Instead, Paki planted a breed of purple roses, named specifically for Te Atairangikaahu, around a memorial stone at their home in Waahi Pā.[1]

Paki continued to live at his home at Waahi Pā following Te Atairangikaahu's death.[1] He was ill and hospitalized for much of 2011.[2] However, Paki checked himself out of the hospital in August 2011 to attend his son's fifth coronation (Koroneihana) anniversary celebrations, and pōwhiri.[2][7]

Paki died on 22 September 2011, at the age of 85, after a long illness.[8] His funeral was held at his home at Waahi Pā, Huntly, with dignitaries attending from as far away as the Cook Islands, Hawaii, and Samoa.[5] He was buried on Mount Taupiri next to his wife.[5][9][10][11] He was driven to Mount Taupiri in a 1930 Model A Ford, which he had helped restore.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Tahana, Yvonne (24 September 2011). "Obituary: Whatumoana Paki". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Tahana, Yvonne (22 September 2011). "Maori King's father dies". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Mrs Francis Paki (sic)". Te Ao Hou (19). August 1957. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  4. ^ "News in brief". Te Ao Hou (15). July 1956. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d Ihaka, James (27 September 2011). "Royal patriarch is laid to rest beside his Queen". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  6. ^ "No. 52383". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1990. p. 30.
  7. ^ "This year marks the fifth anniversary of the coronation of the Maori King Tuheitia". Radio New Zealand. 17 August 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  8. ^ "The father of Kingi Tuheitia, Whatumoana Paki, has died at the age of 85 after battling a long illness". Radio New Zealand. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  9. ^ Akuhata, Karla (26 September 2011). "Revered Kingitanga elder reunited with Dame Te Ata, Whatumoana Paki laid to rest". Waikato Times. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Hamilton marks the passing of Whatumoana Paki Snr". scoop.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Mana Party Pays Respects To Whatumoana Paki". scoop.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 19 October 2011.