Maureen Waaka

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Maureen Waaka
Maureen Te Rangi Rere I Waho Kingi

(1942-10-05)5 October 1942
Ohinemutu, New Zealand
Died1 July 2013(2013-07-01) (aged 70)
Rotorua, New Zealand
  • Politician
  • radiographer
  • former beauty queen
John Waaka
(m. 1963)

Maureen Te Rangi Rere I Waho Waaka MNZM JP (née Kingi, 5 October 1942 – 1 July 2013) was Miss New Zealand 1962, the second Māori woman to win the title. She later became a local-body politician, serving on the Rotorua District Council for 18 years. Of Māori descent, she identified with the Ngāti Tūwharetoa and Ngāti Whakaue iwi.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Waaka was born in 1942.[3][4] Her father was an interpreter for the Māori Affairs Department in Rotorua and she was a niece of Hepi Te Heuheu VII.[5]

She was raised at Ohinemutu where she came under the influence of Guide Rangi.[1] She attended Rotorua High School, where in her final year she was a prefect and received the Maori Purposes Fund Prize for being the top Māori girl at the school.[6][5] After she left school, she studied radiography at Auckland Hospital.[6]

Miss New Zealand[edit]

Waaka was crowned Miss New Zealand in 1962, becoming the second Māori woman to win the title (after Moana Manley in 1954).[7] She went on to represent New Zealand at the Miss International and Miss World pageants later that year, and was the first Māori woman to compete at Miss World.

In June 1963 she married John Waaka at Ohinemutu. The wedding had 500 guests and was reported on in magazine Te Ao Hou / The New World.[8] He had proposed to her the night before her trip to London for the Miss World pageant in 1963.[9]

Waaka and her husband had five children together.[10] They also led the Rotorua International Māori Entertainers performance group for many years, performing Māori songs and poi in concerts at hotels.[9][11][12]

She also returned to her radiography studies, and qualified in 1974.[6][13]

Political career[edit]

Waaka was first elected to the Rotorua District Council in 1989, serving one three-year term. She was re-elected in 1998 and continued to serve until her death in 2013.[2] She also was a member of the Lakes District Health Board for nine years[1] and served as chair of the Māori Tourism Council.[14] She was known as an anti-gambling campaigner, and successfully campaigned against the opening of a casino in Rotorua in 2002.[1][2]

At the 2002 general election Waaka was a list candidate for the Labour Party. She was ranked at number 73 on the Labour list[15] and consequently was not elected.

Waaka was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal.[1] In the 2001 Queen's Birthday Honours, she was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to tourism and the community.[16] In 2005, she was appointed as a justice of the peace.[10]


Waaka suffered a stroke on 16 June 2013 in Auckland. She died in Rotorua of complications two weeks later, on 1 July 2013.[2] Her tangi was held at Te Papaiouru Marae, Ohinemutu.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Politicians pay tribute to Maureen Waaka". Rotorua Daily Post. 1 July 2013. Archived from the original on 26 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Martin, Matthew (1 July 2013). "District councillor Maureen Waaka dies". Rotorua Daily Post. Archived from the original on 17 July 2022.
  3. ^ Forbes, Mihingarangi (4 November 2013). "Native Affairs – Tribute 2013". Māori Television. Retrieved 24 May 2014.
  4. ^ "In memoriam". New Zealand Herald. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b "A Letter from Maureen". Te Ao Hou / The New World (42): 2. September 1962. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Maureen Kingi". Kōmako: A bibliography of writing by Māori in English. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  7. ^ "Maureen Waaka dies aged 70". Radio New Zealand News. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  8. ^ "The Wedding of the Year". Te Ao Hou / The New World (44): 24. September 1963. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  9. ^ a b Nicholas, Jill (19 November 2016). "Our People: John Waaka". Rotorua Daily Post. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  10. ^ a b c "Former Miss New Zealand Maureen Waaka dies". TVNZ news. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Rotorua International Entertainers". Ngā Taonga. The New Zealand Archive of Film, Television and Sound – Ngā Taonga Whitiāhua Me Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  12. ^ "John & Maureen Waaka present the Rotorua International Maori Entertainers [sound recording]". National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Maureen Waaka (nee Kingi) as radiographer". Rotorua Museum. Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  14. ^ Keane, Philippa (20 September 1998). "Ex-Miss NZ hard at work". Sunday Star Times. p. 6.
  15. ^ "Labour's list". The Dominion. 29 April 2002. p. 2.
  16. ^ "Queen's Birthday honours list 2001". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 4 June 2001. Retrieved 2 July 2020.