Prophetic Histories

Bridget Williams Books

Māori prophetic movements from the late nineteenth century are widely known. Men such as Te Whiti, Te Kooti and Rua Kenana led their people through periods of despair and challenge. Some of their teachings continue today. Less well known is a movement founded at the beginning of the twentieth century, based on the teachings of Mere Rikiriki, a prophetess from the Rangitikei River whose words inspired both T. W. Ratana and Hori Enoka Mareikura.

It is the work of Mareikura and his followers that this book discusses. Today the movement quietly continues, centred on the Ruapehu district. The prophetic sayings of Mareikura and other voices guide the lives of the people of the Māramatanga. Their work is recently associated with the Māori renaissance; their belief is closely linked to the Catholic church; their main purpose is one of spiritual adherence.

Karen Sinclair has spent thirty years working with the people of the Māramatanga. From oral histories, documents, and songs, she has carefully recorded some of the key parts of their story. Prophetic Histories is an account written for the movement itself, with the purpose of also informing a wider readership. It records some of the paths by which Māori traverse their own land (and landscape) in post-colonial New Zealand.