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The Maori King Movement

Press Release of The Monarchist League of New Zealand Inc

22nd August 2006

The Maori King Movement

This past week has seen the death of the sixth head of the Maori King Movement, Te Arikinui Dame Te Ata-i-rangi-kaahu, ONZ DBE. Dame Te Arikinui had held the title of Maori Queen for 40 years.

The office, which has no constitutional position or formal powers outside the Tainui tribal administration, was instituted by the Waikato tribes in late nineteenth century in conscious imitation of the British monarchy, which they rightly saw as a highly effective form of government. It has served as a symbol of the identity of Waikato Maori for successive generations, and its prominence has been particularly enhanced in recent years as a result of Government policy. An example of this is that visiting overseas dignitaries were customarily taken to see the Maori Queen. The Government has shown respect and honour towards the head of the Maori King Movement which is often denied to the Sovereign.

Yet the relationship between the Maori King Movement and the Crown itself remains important. Like most Maori, Dame Te Ata-i-rangi-kaahu held the monarchy in high regard, and saw the relationship between herself and The Queen as very important. The life and death of the Maori Queen serves to remind us of the importance of monarchy, whether it be regional, national, or international, as an important unifying element in an otherwise troubled world.


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