Whina Cooper, 1895-1994 (Te Rarawa) and interpreter Colonel James Paumea Ferris, M.B.E

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In this excerpt Tai Tokerau leader, Whina Cooper, makes a forceful appeal for the men still imprisoned to be freed, reminding the gathering that the soldiers were volunteers. She also calls for official forms to be written in te reo so Māori can understand them better and fill them out correctly. Her kōrero is translated by Colonel James Paumea Ferris, M.B.E., a WWI Māori Contingent veteran and administrator with the Māori Battalion during World War II.

Cooper was an influential leader, involved in iwi and national politics. She took a leading role in church and community activities and was the first president of the Māori Women’s Welfare League. She excelled in business and in the farming ventures she undertook with her first husband Richard Gilbert of Ngāti Wai and her second husband William Turakiuta Cooper of Ngāti Kahungunu. She would eventually be known as Te Whaea o te Motu.

Image Credit: One of the original National Broadcasting Service 16-inch discs used to record the Return of the 28th Māori Battalion. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision collection

Catalogue Reference 5443

Year 1946


Speaker: Whina Cooper
Interpreter: Col. James Paumea Ferris

Excerpt: 00:03:03

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Whakamahia ai mātou ngā pihikete ki te rapu māramatanga ki te āhua o tō whakamahi i tēnei paetukutuku, ki te whakapai hoki i tō whai wāhi mai. Ki te rapu kōrero anō pānuitia te kaupapahere tūmataiti.