Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa Go to Te Ao Hou homepage
No. 46 (March 1964)
– 37 –

Auckland Classes in
Maori Culture

The people in these photographs are some of the sixty-odd Aucklanders, Maori and Pakeha, taking part in classes in Maori culture held by the Adult Education Centre in Auckland. Intended originally as a pilot scheme to build up a team of tutors able to demonstrate the fundamentals of Maori culture, the course is so popular that it is hoped to organise similar courses in some other towns. It is also hoped to link up with classes run by the Department of Education which are similar to the Adult Education ones, except that they are held for teachers only.

Picture icon

Ans Westra Photo
Many people attending the course are teachers, who will pass on what they learn to the children they teach.

Picture icon

Gregory Photo
Mrs Jean Wikiriwhi, the tutor of this group, watches as they practice a poi item. The classes, designed for those who have little or no knowledge of Maori culture, have proved very popular indeed.

– 38 –


John Del-Roy, one of the great exponents of Latin-American dancing in Europe and the United Kingdom, says that he would like to see more Maoris enter this field, ‘because they have in their wonderful and quite natural sense of rhythm a tremendous asset’.

Mr Del-Roy's non-professional name is John Whakarau, and he is a son of Mrs Rubina Whakarau of Aromoho, Wanganui. He says that as a dancer, he feels he owes a lot to the fundamentals he learnt when he was a member of the Putiki Pa group at Wanganui.

He is immensely proud of his Maori blood and name, but when he became a dancer the utter inability of anyone in Britain to pronounce Whakarau eventually induced him to take the professional name of Del-Roy.

John served in the Achilles during the war, and then stayed on in London to study Latin-American dancing. He and his partner, his wife Grace, won the European professional championship in Belgium in 1951, and gained many other British and International successes in subsequent years.

They have danced in cabaret and on stage in England, the United States, Canada, and many countries on the Continent. As well as this, John has a school in London where, when he is not himself rehearsing, he coaches dancers and instructs in choreography, on which he is an authority. He has coached, among many talented dancers, two world champions, one amateur and one professional.

John and his wife hope to visit New Zealand soon to see his relatives and to dance here and in Australia.


Members of the Taranaki Maori Trust Board, appointed for a three year term, have recently been announced. They are: Messrs Te W. Tamou (Ngarauru tribe), H. Tamaka (Ngati Ruanui), A. Edwards (Ngaruahine), T. Pihopa (Taranaki), P. Tamati (Te Atiawa), H. Raumati (Ngati Mutunga), P. Whakaruru (Ngati Tama and Ngati Maru).


Miss M. Mitchell, the Principal of Turakina Maori Girls' College for the past 13 years, retired last December after 28 years' service to the College.