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Media release —

Nearly 175 years after his death, Te Rauparaha remains an intriguing character. He’s been immortalised in fiction, poetry, film, waiata and haka, and has his name on the side of an arena.

A new 5-part podcast series Te Rauparaha: Kei Wareware tells the story of the life and times of Ngāti Toa leader Te Rauparaha, a compelling figure in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage commissioned award-winning podcast producers Popsock Media ( The Lake, True Justice) to create the series, which is based on Tamihana Te Rauparaha’s account of his father’s life, written by Tamihana in the 1860s and published in a bilingual edition in 2020. Ross Calman, the editor and translator of that book and himself a descendant of Te Rauparaha, hosts the podcast.

The series closely follows Tamihana’s account, with vivid descriptions of Te Rauparaha’s upbringing, his rise to tribal leadership and how he led the Ngāti Toa people on a migration from their Waikato home to the Kapiti region. It explores Ngāti Toa’s decade-long war with Ngāi Tahu, incorporating perspectives from both iwi, as well as early interactions between Māori and Pākehā in the Cook Strait region.

"Learning about Te Rauparaha’s life is a way of entering into a fascinating era in New Zealand history, in particular the dynamic time of tribal movements and cross-cultural contact in the twenty or so years before the Treaty of Waitangi was signed," says podcast host Ross Calman (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tahu).

"He was a central figure in the early years of colonisation of New Zealand by Britain and the armed conflict that broke out in the 1840s at Wairau and in the Hutt Valley.

"Te Rauparaha’s story needs to be considered within the wider context of te ao Māori at the time he was alive. This podcast delves into the tikanga of the time, how utu operated in practice, and the impact of muskets on Māori warfare, as well as the ways that history can be shaped by personal agendas and misinterpretations."

"We have endeavoured to incorporate perspectives not only from tribal historians of those iwi associated with Te Rauparaha, but also from tribal historians within those iwi who fought against Ngāti Toa in the 1820s and 1830s," he says.

The podcast retells potent parts of Te Rauparaha’s story in both te reo Māori and English, and includes new interviews with leading iwi historians, dramatised readings from Tamihana’s narrative by Ngāti Toa actor Toa Waaka, with music from Mokotron, Ariana Tikao, Alistair Fraser and Phil Boniface, incorporating taonga puoro (traditional Māori instruments).

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Toa chief executive officer Helmut Modlik says: "This work is a taonga! He mihi nunui ki a koe e Ross."

The series will be available to listen to on 31 October and can be streamed from Podbean, Spotify, Apple podcasts and 

Te Rauparaha: Kei Wareware podcast series