There is a long history behind the formation of the New Zealand Māori Council as part of the long Māori struggle for autonomy. The Māori Council’s system can be traced back to the Kotahitanga movement and the Māori parliaments in the 1800s. In 1900 Sir James Carroll was able to get a statute to establish Councils’ at a papakainga level. Government would not recognise the need for Māori organisation at a national or district level.
This changed in 1945 when the Councils’ set up for the war effort were reorganised into District Māori Councils. Government again refused to recognise a national Māori body which might lead to “Māori nationalism”.
In 1962 the break-through occurred when the New Zealand Māori Council was established as a national body.
Earlier accounts of the work of the Council were included in Te Ao Hou magazine.