Te Rangi Hīroa

Te Rangi Hīroa (Sir Peter Henry Buck) 

Te Rangi Hīroa, also known as Sir Peter Henry Buck (Ngāti Mutunga), became well known among Māori as a doctor before the First World War. This led to him being asked to stand as a Member of Parliament for Northern Māori 

Peter Henry Buck (on right) in France by unknown photographer, c. 1916–1918. Ale(external link)

To the memory of our hero comrade ‘Murphy’ (Simpson) killed May 1915, by Horace Moore Jones, 1918. Alexander Turnbull Library. Reference C-057-002.

Context 

Te Rangi Hīroa, also known as Sir Peter Henry Buck (Ngāti Mutunga), became well known among Māori as a doctor before the First World War. This led to him being asked to stand as a Member of Parliament for Northern Māori. Before going to war himself, he travelled around New Zealand encouraging other young Māori men to enlist in the Māori volunteer contingent. He thought that if they enlisted, this would show that Māori and Pākehā had equal rights and responsibilities as citizens. 

When Te Rangi Hīroa was serving in the war as a medical officer in the Māori volunteer contingent, Te Hokowhitu-a-Tū, he helped to convince the commanders to let the contingent join the battles at Gallipoli and to fight alongside the other soldiers rather than keep doing garrison duties. He noticed that Māori soldiers soon got a reputation for their bravery and strength as soldiers and that they earned the respect of the other troops – and of their enemies! 

Te Rangi Hīroa received a Distinguished Service Order award for his conduct during the war. He was promoted to second-in-command of the New Zealand Māori Pioneer Battalion, and when he returned to New Zealand after the war, he continued to fight for equality. In 1946, he was awarded a knighthood. 

Key questions 

What can we observe? 

What do we already know? 

How might people view this image in different ways? 

 

Possible discussion questions: 

How was Te Rangi Hīroa a good leader? 

Who do you know who is a good leader? What do you think makes them a good leader? Why are leaders important? 

Who are some famous New Zealanders that you know? Do you know of any famous New Zealanders from the First World War? What made them famous? 

Why do you think Te Rangi Hīroa wanted Māori to be allowed to fight? 

He thought Māori enlisting would show that Māori and Pākehā had equal rights and responsibilities as citizens. What do you know about relationships between Māori and Pākehā then? 

Apart from leading soldiers, what else could the women and men in the First World War have done to show leadership? 

Do you think everyone should be allowed to go and fight in a war on behalf of a country? Why or why not?

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