Koro Tainui Wētere CBE (22 June 1935 – 23 June 2018) was a New Zealand politician. He was an MP from 1969 to 1996, representing the Labour Party. He served as Minister of Māori Affairs in the Fourth Labour Government (1984–1990).
|34th Minister of Māori Affairs|
26 July 1984 – 2 November 1990
|Prime Minister||David Lange|
|Preceded by||Ben Couch|
|Succeeded by||Winston Peters|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament|
for Western Maori
1969 – 1996
|Preceded by||Iriaka Matiu Ratana|
Koro Tainui Wētere
22 June 1935
Oparure, New Zealand
|Died||23 June 2018 (aged 83)|
Te Kuiti, New Zealand
Nedracita Takuora Edwards (m. 1960)
|Relatives||Nanaia Mahuta (niece)|
Early life and familyEdit
Born at Oparure, near Te Kuiti, on 22 June 1935, Wētere was the son of Weo Maruatara Wētere and Te Aorangi Wētere (née Eketone), and affiliated to the Ngāti Maniapoto iwi. He was educated at Te Kuiti High School and Massey University, and was ordained a minister (āpotoro rēhita or registered apostle) of the Rātana Church, serving as parish minister for Oparure, Te Kuiti and Piopio in the 1960s.
In 1960, Wētere married Nedracita Takuora Edwards, and the couple went on to have five children.
Member of ParliamentEdit
|New Zealand Parliament|
Wētere joined the Labour Party in 1957, and was first elected to Parliament in the 1969 election as MP for the Western Maori electorate, one of the four Māori electorates in New Zealand's House of Representatives. Given Labour's traditional dominance in the Māori electorates, Wētere held his position without difficulty until his retirement at the 1996 election.
Wētere became Minister of Māori Affairs when the Labour Party won the 1984 election, serving in that role until 1990. He also served as Minister of Lands, Minister of Forests, and the Minister in charge of the Valuation Department between 1984 and 1987, and the Minister in charge of the Iwi Transition Agency between 1989 and 1990.
Wētere was criticised during the Māori loan affair of 1985-86, and was nearly asked to resign. Tamati Reedy the head of Wētere's department Te Puni Kokiri attempted to arrange an unauthorised overseas loan for Māori businesses. Wētere was the subject of strong attacks over the issue by National Party MP Winston Peters, but denied any wrongdoing. When Labour lost power in the 1990 election, Wētere returned to opposition for two terms before retiring from politics.
In 1990 Wētere refused to translate his addresses to parliament into English, having given them in Māori. This was one of a number of steps which pushed the issue of the use of Māori in public life during this time. There are now arrangements for simultaneous interpretation between English and Māori in Parliament.
Wētere was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal in 1977, and the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal. In the 1996 New Year Honours, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, for services to the Māori people.
- "Low profile but leading". The New Zealand Herald. 26 November 1999. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- Gardiner, James; Bidois, Vanessa (29 April 2000). "Wetere tipped as Tainui head". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- Lambert, Max, ed. (1991). Who's Who in New Zealand (12th ed.). Auckland: Reed. p. 682. ISBN 0-7900-0130-6.
- Launch of Simultaneous Interpretation in the House
- Taylor, Alister, ed. (2001). New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa 2001. Auckland: Alister Taylor Publishers. p. 933. ISSN 1172-9813.
- "No. 54256". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1995. p. 34.
- "University hosts celebration of Maori academic excellence". University of Waikato. 4 March 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
- Yalden, Phillipa (23 June 2018). "Former Labour minister Koro Wētere dies surrounded by family at Te Kuiti hospital". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
| Minister of Māori Affairs
|New Zealand Parliament|
Iriaka Matiu Ratana
| Member of Parliament for Western Maori
replaced by Te Tai Hauauru