Story: Ngā rōpū – Māori organisations

Grey's rūnanga system

Grey's rūnanga system

In 1861 a rūnanga (council) system was put into place by Governor George Grey. It was summarised by J. E. Gorst: 'The whole native territory was to be divided into about twenty Districts, each to be presided over by an English Commissioner. The District was subdivided into a half-a-dozen Hundreds, each of which should select two native magistrates, a warden, and five constables. These officers were to be paid by Government a magistrate, from £30 to £50 per annum; a warden, £30; and the constables, £10 each, with a suit of uniform every year. The two magistrates from each Hundred were to constitute the District Runanga, presided over by the Civil Commissioner.' (J. E. Gorst, The Maori king. Christchurch: Kiwi, 1999 (originally published 1864), p. 134.) In practice, there was a lot of variation in how this was implemented and the above model is based on a government report on the proposed structure for the Bay of Islands.

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Source: Lindsay Cox, Kotahitanga: the search for Maori political unity. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1993

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How to cite this page:

Basil Keane, 'Ngā rōpū – Māori organisations - 19th-century Māori organisations', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/diagram/29678/greys-runanga-system (accessed 26 May 2020)

Story by Basil Keane, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jun 2017