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n. A hereditary Māori leader of a kinship group.


Rangatira ([ɾaŋatiɾa]) are the hereditary Māori leaders of hapū, and were described by ethnologists such as Elsdon Best as chieftains (p. 88). Ideally, rangatira were people of great practical wisdom who held authority on behalf of the tribe and maintained boundaries between a tribe's land and that of other tribes. Changes to land ownership laws in the 19th century, particularly the individualisation of land title, undermined the position of rangatira, as did the widespread loss of land under the colonial government.

Rangatira (Cook Islands)

A '' rangatira '' was the title given to a minor chief in the Cook Islands - often someone who was closely related to an ariki or mataiapo, now usually by the younger brothers or sisters; the head of a branch of a rangatira or mataiapo family.

A rangatira title was usually inherited within a family. It was associated with a tapere - the land on which the people of a village belonged. The rangatira could expect contributions of goods and services from the people of his village. The majority of his village population of which he was the head, would have come from his descent group.

A rangatira could only be created by the ariki who delegated authority to the rangatira in order to create a structure of support from within the tapere for the ariki. This tapere support mechanism was stronger than that of the mataiapo because its population was larger.The Cook Islands, 1820-1950

by Richard Phillip Gilson, R. G. Crocombe (1980) p. 10 Google books

Rangatira (disambiguation)

Rangatira may refer to

  • Rangatira, a chief among the Māori of New Zealand
  • Rangatira (Cook Islands), a minor chief among the Cook Islanders
  • Rangatira or South East Island, in the Chatham Archipelago, New Zealand
  • , a turbo-electric ferry that ran between New Zealand's North and South Islands