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Ranginui Walker papers.

Identifier: MSS-Archives-Maori 95/4

Scope and Contents

The papers reflect the public and professional activities of Dr Ranginui Walker. Notable groupings are papers pertaining to his involvement with the New Zealand and Auckland District Maori Council, typescripts of comments for the Listener's Korero column, Metro's Te karangacolumn, and National Radio's Sunday supplement and Mana news bulletin. Also included are conference and seminar papers; letters of congratulations on his DCNZM and other correspondence; biographical information about himself, essays; lecture notes; book and music reviews; clippings, photocopies. The folders in which this collection was arranged have been discarded but their original numerical sequence is retained as Item numbers.

Note: unless noted otherwise, all papers are by Professor Walker. Titles are as given by the author, or supplied by the archivist where none was available.

Abbreviations: ADMC = Auckland District Maori Council; NZMC = New Zealand Maori Council.

Metro column was called Te karanga.


  • 1968 - 2005


Conditions Governing Access

Not restricted

Biographical note

Ranginui Joseph Isaac Walker (1932-2016), academic, author, and activist, belonged to the Ngati Rua and Ngati Patumoana hapu of the Whakatohea tribal group. He grew up near Opotiki and the main influences on his early life were his extended family, farming, the Catholic Church and schools, and Maori customs and traditions.

In 1950, Walker came to Auckland to undertake teacher training and, in 1953, after compulsory military training at the Papakura Camp, married Dierdre Dodson, who also trained in education. They had 3 children. Walker went on to study at the University of Auckland, finishing his PhD in 1970. He was a lecturer at the Auckland Teachers' College and at the Centre for Continuing Education. Ranginui was appointed associate professor of Maori studies in the University's Anthropology Department in 1986. He served as professor of Maori Studies from 1993 to 1997 and Pro-Vice Chancellor (Maori) from 1996-1997. In 2012 he was made a Distinguished Alumnus of the University.

Throughout his life Ranginui was a passionate advocate and an influential voice for Maori rights and social justice. In 2001 this was acknowledged with a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year honours list.

Roles and activities outside the academic world also occupied a large amount of Walker's time and energy over several decades. Often with the support of Dierdre, he was involved in marches and rallies drawing attention to a wide range of issues. He also organised meetings and conferences and it was from one of these events, a Young Maori Leaders Conference, that Nga Tamatoa, an activist group prominent throughout most of the 1970s, arose. He was a member of and held office on a number of boards and councils, including the Auckland District and New Zealand Maori Councils, and the Waitangi Tribunal.

Writing and media comment, drawing on his activist and academic background were other significant pursuits. He wrote several books on political and historical issues, produced biographies of carver, Paki Harrison, and politician, Sir Apirana Ngata, and contributed much comment via print, radio and television.


1.15 metres (7 boxes.)

Language of Materials



The collection was described by Robert Sullivan at the item level in 2000. In 2009 the collection was rehoused into 64 archival folders, but the original folder identities were retained in the folder titles and in the item numbering. For example item 7/17 The genesis of direct negotiation and the fiscal envelope was originally housed in Folder 7, but is now found in Folder 36 within 'Original folder 7'.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Deposited in Te Hukatai by Dr Ranginui Walker and transferred to the Library in February 2001. Original folder 14 was donated to the Library in 2005.

Related Materials

Auckland District Maori Council records, 1962-1991. MSS & Archives Maori 91/4, and Ranginui Walker research papers on Ngata biography. MSS & Archives Vault 166.


  • Spoonley, Paul. Mata toa : the life and times of Ranginui Walker, Auckland : Penguin, 2009
Inventory of the papers of Professor Ranginui Walker, 1968-2005.
Robert Sullivan
December 2000
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