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Waerete Norman papers.

Identifier: MSS-Archives-2012/14

Scope and Contents

The papers of Waerete Norman were donated in two batches to the University of Auckland Library in 2002 and 2005. Notes by Rose Leaman which accompanied the 2002 batch stated that ‘most boxes contain mixtures of topics – unsorted – occasionally there will be like material together’. This describes well the overall state of the collection prior to arrangement and description and explains why it has been necessary to create artificial series.

There are 16 series in this collection, all of which reflect well Norman’s life and work. There is some overlap in the series’ contents due to Norman’s coinciding roles and interests, but distinct spheres of Norman’s activity are still evident.

Series 1 includes material specifically relating to the University of Auckland where Norman undertook study, tutoring, teaching and research. Evidence of this is seen in course handouts given to Norman as a student and that she distributed to students as a tutor and lecturer, handwritten notes, material pertaining to the Maori Studies Department and marae, and research projects linked to the Department and The James Henare Maori Research Centre. Material in this series also contributes to a history of the University of Auckland’s provision of adult education, and the role of Norman and R.H. Leaman, supported by Dr Ranginui Walker, in the establishment of a New Start programme for prospective Maori and Polynesian students through the University’s Centre for Continuing Education.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Norman was involved in local government in the Auckland region. Her first term ran from 1986 to 1988 as the Auckland Regional Authority Member for Northern Maori. The second was from 1988 to 1992, when she stood for the all-Maori Kia Ora team rather than a mainstream party. It coincided with a prolonged period of change in which the Auckland Regional Authority became the Auckland Regional Council. Series 2, then, shows the breadth of Norman’s contribution as an elected member of these bodies, sitting on numerous committees in various capacities. Norman’s role in championing the cause of Maori representation on the council through the establishment of Te Puna Manawa Korero, the Maori advisory committee, is particularly noticeable.

The papers for the Auckland Regional Authority and Auckland Regional Council are divided into two subseries with parallel components, namely, minutes, correspondence, submissions, reports and associated material. For the ARC there is also a subseries of related material for the Parks and Wilderness Trust.

Series 3 comprises documents pertinent to Waitangi Tribunal claims and hearings and includes research material, reports, submissions, supporting documents, hearing notifications, affidavits, evidence, correspondence and judgements. Much of this material is related to Muriwhenua’s Wai 22 and Wai 45 claims, which were submitted to the Tribunal in 1987 by the Honourable Matiu Rata, a key figure in the establishment of the Waitangi Tribunal in 1975. Initially the Muriwhenua tribal groups of Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Te Rarawa, Ngai Takoto, and Ngati Kahu set about work on a joint claim over Far North land and resources, but then opted to negotiate their own separate claims. The contents of this Series show aspects of the stages gone through and work involved in the claims process.

Series 4 and 5 are closely related to each other in that they contain material pertaining to the Te Hapua 42 and Muriwhenua Incorporations and their business endeavours. Norman was a member of both entities. The latter was established following the receivership and liquidation of the former. In 1992 an investigation took place into the accounts of Muriwhenua Incorporation. Included in both series are minutes, correspondence, financial records, records regarding receivership and liquidation, and general related material.

The establishment and workings of Te Runanga o Muriwhenua is the focus of Series 6, which includes similar material to that of Series 3 but records more specifically its status as an incorporation, bestowed in April 1989, with Matiu Rata as Executive Director. Various committees were set up, and, for at least some of the time, Waerete Norman was convenor of the research committee, working with her University of Auckland colleague, Margaret Mutu, and numerous others, towards a satisfactory settlement of claims through the Waitangi Tribunal. Included in the papers are minutes, correspondence, financial records, and related materials.

Papers for a wide range of other Maori bodies and organisations with whom Norman was involved are found in Series 7. For some of these, such as the Auckland District Maori Council, there are accompanying records of establishment and organisation which include minutes, correspondence and financial records. Prominent amongst these are papers pertaining to the Auckland District Maori Council and a branch of the Council, in which Norman was involved, based at the University of Auckland. Series 8 contains material pertaining largely to the establishment and organisation of the political party, Mana Motuhake, by Matiu Rata after he stepped down in 1979 from the position of Labour MP for the Northern Maori seat, which he had held since 1963. Aside from Rata’s own dissatisfaction with the Labour Party’s Maori policies, there was also a wider context of growing disaffection and impatience on the part of Maori, in general, in New Zealand. The time seemed right for change and in 1979 Matiu Rata resigned from Parliament and stepped down from his Northern Maori seat after having been in the role since 1963. He then set about establishing the Mana Motuhake Party with the help of supporters. This is seen in Series 8 with minutes, correspondence, financial records, press releases, manifesto, and election material. Noticeable is a large amount of material that was labelled as belonging to Pat Hohepa, who held the position of Mana Motuhake’s General Secretary and must have been given by him to Norman at some point. There is also material pertaining to other political parties in this Series, including the Labour Party. Mana Motuhake was deregistered in 2005 as a result of competition from new parties, particularly the Maori Party, who also sought Maori members and voters.

A small cluster of material labelled as ‘subject files’ was found in one of the boxes and this has been built upon to create Series 9, which brings together files of similar subject matter in a manageable fashion. Included are subjects such as ‘Colonisation’, ‘Education and schooling’, Environment and resources’, ‘Health’, Indigenous peoples’, Songs and oral traditions’, ‘The Treaty of Waitangi’, and ‘Women and feminism’.

Series 10 provides evidence of systematic research undertaken by Norman at various times. Some may have been connected to claim research and may have some overlap with other Series in this collection but a significant amount will also be related to Norman’s academic research towards her degrees and, in particular, her unfinished doctoral thesis on Maori women. It can be seen that she gathered and utilised a range of resources of a mainly historical nature from the University of Auckland Library’s Special Collections section, The Alexander Turnbull Library and other sources. Item 10/201 in this Series consists of numerous index cards, many on the subject of women.

Fifty-eight sound cassettes and one folder with handwritten notes record Waitangi Tribunal hearings for the Muriwhenua claim in Series 11. The recordings cover a period from the first hearing in December 1986 to the eighth hearing in April 1988. As a set they are incomplete but still provide a valuable record of an important milestone for the Maori people of Muriwhenua.

An assortment of maps, plans and deeds make up Series 12. Most pertain to Muriwhenua and would have been collected in the course of research for the Waitangi Tribunal claim. Some relate to electorate boundaries. Much of this material is located on outsize shelves or in a poster cabinet.

Waerete Norman collected many newspaper and magazine clippings in the course of her life and these, sometimes annotated, may be found throughout her papers. Series 13 brings some of these together along with eight clipping books that Norman had compiled in the 1980s using glue and adhesive tape. Most of these also had extra clippings pushed inside them. These clipping books, which are located on outsize shelves, form the basis of this Series, which also accommodates hundreds of other clippings on a wide range of topics that include politics, activism, tourism, Far North matters, Maori language, the Treaty of Waitangi, health, and history.

Series 14 comprises several posters on the subjects of Inland Revenue, Maori Language Week, promotion of the University of Auckland, a photographic exhibition, International Year for Indigenous People, and human rights.

Some Ratana Church material appears in Series 15 of this collection. As already seen, Waerete Norman was a firm supporter of Matiu Rata in his role in the New Zealand Labour Party. Rata had a background in the Church, which had been allied with Labour since the 1930s. Norman’s own connection is indicated in this Series by a receipt for her subscription to the Church’s periodical, Te Whetu marama o te kotahitanga, and an order form for Church badges. Also included in this series is a creed, constitution, rules, financial records, minutes, a bound thesis about the Ratana Church, some photographs, lists of Church ministers, burials and T.W. Ratana quotations. These items cover a period from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Series 16 is made up of photographs of carving, tukutuku panels, kowhaiwhai work and land.


ADMC Auckland District Maori Council

AGM Annual General Meeting

AML Auckland Museum Library

ATL The Alexander Turnbull Library

AU The University of Auckland Library

MM Mana Motuhake

ms / mss manuscript / manuscripts

NZFOMA / FOMA New Zealand Federation of Maori Authorities / Federation of Maori Authorities

RONAN Te Runanga o Ngati Kuri Aopouri Ngai Takoto

Sgd signed

TTFOMLA Taitokerau Federation of Maori Land Authorities VUW Victoria University of Wellington

WN Waerete Norman


  • 1960s-1999


Language of Materials

Collection includes material in Maori language.


Partly restricted: see inventory for restrictions on specific folders.

Biographical Note

Violet Beatrice Norman (1942-1999) was a Maori woman of ability and commitment, dedicating much of her life to the welfare, rights and education of Maori people in New Zealand. She was active on numerous boards and committees, forged an academic career at the University of Auckland, was involved in national and local body politics and interested in women’s rights, the Treaty of Waitangi, and Maori language and traditions. Perhaps her most important contribution outside of family life, though, was her research and support for claims to the Waitangi Tribunal, particularly Muriwhenua’s Wai 45 claim over lands and fisheries.

Also known as Waerete, she was born to Tautahi Tame and Whorora (Flora), both previously widowed, at Kaitaia. Family life revolved around the locations of Ngataki, Te Kao and Te Hapua. Her father dug kauri gum and broke in land under a Ngata Development Scheme. In 1950, following the drift of Maori to urban centres, the family moved to Auckland, staying, firstly, in a Grafton boarding house, then settling in a Mt Roskill Maori Affairs home. Holidays, picnics, shell-fish gathering, sports, gardening and community events were part of family life. So, too, was the Ratana Church and its historical connection with the New Zealand Labour Party. The latter’s influences on Norman would lead to lifelong interest and participation in national and local body politics. From her youth she supported Matiu Rata and his political campaigns, and continued to do so after Rata resigned from the Northern Maori electorate to establish the Mana Motuhake party in 1980. Norman was a foundation member of the new party and formed some of its policies.

Norman’s Muriwhenua Maori heritage included connections to Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Ngai Takoto, Te Rarawa, Ngati Kahu, and Ngati Rehia. In the 1980s she also identified herself as Ngati Akarana to reflect her work and residence in Auckland. Norman grew up fluent in Maori and English. At school she was an able scholar but left home at 14 and her schooling ceased. Norman went to Christchurch where she met Roy Subritzky, originally from Te Kao, and the couple had five children. They returned to a Maori Affairs home in New Lynn, Auckland. After Norman’s marriage ended in the late 1970s, she resumed the schooling she had left off as a teenager, gaining School Certificate, and, through the University of Auckland’s New Start programme, began full time study to achieve a BA in 1984 and MA on Muriwhenua in 1986. Sadly, she died before completing her doctorate on the topic of Maori women.

Roles and positions held by Waerete Norman throughout her life included founding member and treasurer of the New Lynn branch of the Maori Women’s Welfare League, treasurer and member of the Auckland District Maori Council, lecturer in Maori Studies and member of the Equal Employment Opportunities Committee at the University of Auckland, national secretary for the inaugural year of the Maori University Teachers’ Association committee; translator for the Waitangi Tribunal, member of the Committee of Management for the Te Hapua 42 Incorporation and its successor, Muriwhenua Inc., Committee member of the Nga Puhi Dialectal Dictionary Panel, elected member of the Auckland Regional Authority and Auckland Regional Council, Northern Maori representative, and seats on numerous committees including the role of Maori Liaison Officer for the Auckland region, Chair of Research Committee for Muriwhenua claims to Waitangi Tribunal, treasurer and member of Auckland District Maori Council and deputy chair of Auckland District Maori Council’s University of Auckland branch.

The material that comprises this collection of Waerete Norman’s papers attests to the many spheres of influence and activity in which she was she involved, not least of which were her academic career at the University of Auckland and work on behalf of fellow Maori. Also extant is a modest number of other sources, published and unpublished, on or by Waerete Norman that attests to other facets of her life and interaction with others. After Norman’s death, Laurelyn Whitt, a Canadian academic who has held visiting appointments at the University of Auckland’s Maori Studies Department, dedicated a book, Science, colonialism, and indigenous peoples : the cultural politics of law and knowledge (2009) to Norman. Fittingly, a customary Maori farewell by former University of Auckland and Mana Motuhake colleague Patu Hohepa is included ([p. iv]).


He maimai aroha / Waerete Norman (2000). Mana, (32), 7.

Norman, W. (1987). Muriwhenua / by Waerete Norman. Unpublished master’s thesis, the University of Auckland, Auckland.

Norman, W. (1989). The Muriwhenua claim / Waerete Norman. In I.H. Kawharu (Ed.), Waitangi : Maori and Pakeha perspectives of the Treaty of Waitangi (pp 180-210). Auckland: Oxford University Press.

Norman, W.(1998 ). Taura. In W. Ihimaera (Ed.), Growing up Maori (pp. 110-140). Auckland : Tandem Press.

Norman, W. (c1999). He korero mo nga kaitiaki o te hiku o te ika Muriwhenua. Nga Pakiwaitara a Huia. 3. 343-348

Rankine, J. (November 1986). Shaking up local bodies. Broadsheet, (144), 24-31, 39.

Tomas, N. (2000). Waerete Beatrice Norman (1942-1999). The University of Auckland news, (April 2000), 18-19.

Whitt, L. (2009). Science, colonialism, and indigenous peoples : the cultural politics of law and knowledge / Laurelynn Whitt. Cambridge : New York, NY : Cambridge University Press.


16 metres (32 cartons)

Physical Location

In off-site storage. Expect delay of 12-24 hours from time of order.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Library in 2002 and 2005.

Inventory of the Waerete Norman papers, 1960s-1999.
Yvonne Sutherland
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand