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Rangitiaria Dennan (Guide Rangi)

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Rangitiaria Dennan (Guide Rangi)

Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wāhiao, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Tarāwhai

For more than 40 years Rangitiaria Dennan had an illustrious career, guiding tourists through Whakarewarewa village in Rotorua. Globally she is known fondly as 'Guide Rangi'.

She was born in 1897, at a time of a crossroad between traditional Māori and Pākehā ways. As a young woman she heeded a call by Apirana Ngata for Māori to acquire Pākehā skills to benefit their people and in 1914 she decided to become a teacher. Ill health prevented her developing her teaching career and in December 1921, when she agreed to help guide a party of tourists at Whakarewarewa, she discovered her vocation. She was a guide until her retirement in 1965 during which time she guided hundreds of thousands of tourists through Whakarewarewa and met many famous people.

For Dennan guiding was an opportunity to promote a Māori world view. Believing Pākehā needed to be more accurately informed, she attempted to give her tour parties an introduction to Māori attitudes and values, and always encouraging visitors to ask questions. With her own Te Arawa people she always spoke te reo Māori, telling them that although they had to live in the Pākehā world, they did not have to be absorbed or overwhelmed by it.

In this excerpt from Kiwi Country, Guide Rangi explains aspects of Māori culture to interviewer Sam Gardiner.

Find out more about Rangitiaria Dennan (Guide Rangi):

Read Dennan's Dictionary of Biography entry by Cushla Parekowhai. 

See this article from 1966 about Guide Rangi's retirement. 

Read more about Māori guides. 

Image: Screengrab from Kiwi Country, Guide Rangi circa 1966.

Catalogue Reference F5571

Year [1966]

Credits

Reynolds Television
Interviewer: Sam Gardiner

Excerpt: 00:05:09

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