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Matiu Rata (26 March 1934 – 25 July 1997) was a New Zealand Māori politician from the Labour Party.

Matiu Rata
Matiu Rata.tiff
32nd Minister of Māori Affairs
In office
8 December 1972 – 12 December 1975
Prime MinisterNorman Kirk
Bill Rowling
Preceded byDuncan MacIntyre
Succeeded byDuncan MacIntyre
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Northern Maori
In office
1963 – 1980
Preceded byTapihana Paraire Paikea
Succeeded byBruce Gregory
Personal details
Born(1934-03-26)26 March 1934
Te Hāpua, New Zealand
Died25 July 1997(1997-07-25) (aged 63)
Political partyLabour (1963–80)
Mana Motuhake (1980–97)

Political careerEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1963 33rd Northern Maori Labour
1963–1966 34th Northern Maori Labour
1966–1969 35th Northern Maori Labour
1969–1972 36th Northern Maori Labour
1972–1975 37th Northern Maori Labour
1975–1978 38th Northern Maori Labour
1978–1979 39th Northern Maori Labour
1979–1980 Changed allegiance to: Independent

Rata was a Member of Parliament for Northern Maori from a 1963 by-election to 1980.

He was the Minister of Lands and Minister of Māori Affairs in the Third Labour Government of New Zealand between 1972 and 1975. He was the architect of both the Māori Affairs Amendment Act of 1974, which gave Māori greater control over their land, and the 1975 creation of the Waitangi Tribunal.[1]

In 1979 he resigned from the Labour Party.[1] In 1980 he resigned from Parliament and formed the Mana Motuhake Party to contest the resulting 1980 by-election. He was defeated by Bruce Gregory, coming second with 991 fewer votes than Gregory.

Following his exit from Parliament Matiu Rata was the leader of the Muriwhenua in presenting their Treaty of Waitangi claims to the Waitangi Tribunal, resulting in a settlement of Māori fishing claims for the tribes of the Far North.[1]

Rata died on 25 July 1997 from injuries received eight days earlier when his car was hit head on by a vehicle driven by a foreign tourist who reportedly fell asleep at the wheel.[2]

Rata's widow, Nellie Rata, stood for ACT in Te Tai Tokerau at the 1999 general election, having been unsuccessful in securing the Alliance nomination.[3] She received 280 votes, to finish in seventh place in the 13-candidate race.


  1. ^ a b c "Matiu Rata: Biography". NZ History. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  2. ^ Barber, David (27 July 1997). "Obituary: Matiu Rata". The Independent. Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  3. ^ Bain, Helen (20 September 1999). "Who's who in the ring". New Zealand Herald. p. 6.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Duncan MacIntyre
Minister of Māori Affairs
Succeeded by
Duncan MacIntyre
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Tapihana Paraire Paikea
Member of Parliament for Northern Maori
Succeeded by
Bruce Gregory