Dr Hirini Kaa

MA, PhD (Auckland)


Dr Hirini Kaa is of Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu and Rongowhakaata descent. Hirini has worked in a range of areas including in the social services sector, for the Anglican Church and for his iwi, and continues his various roles in the Anglican Church. Hirini has extensive television experience including presenting, researching and co-writing the seven part historical documentary series 'The Prophets' for Māori Television, which explored Māori prophetic movements from an Anglican perspective. Hirini continues to be sought out for commentary on a range of subjects across different media outlets. His PhD thesis was ‘He Ngākau Hou: Te Hāhi Mihinare and the Renegotiation of Mātauranga, c.1800-1992’, a ground-breaking exploration of the engagement of Christianity and Iwi in Aotearoa-New Zealand in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries. Hirini leads an innovative pedagogical project "Ako Arts" which seeks to embed Maori and Pacific values in teaching to ensure student success, as well as leading the development of Ō Tātou Mātāpono, a mātauranga Māori based values project for the faculty.

Research | Current

  • Indigenous/Maori engagement with Christianity and Empire
  • Indigenous spirituality, health and wellbeing
  • Indigenous/Maori pedagogies and educational leadership
  • Effective indigenous pedagogies

I have been awarded a prestigious Marsden Fund Fast-Start grant from the Royal Society to undertake a project: 'The Young Māori Party: Leading Iwi into Modernity' from 2018-2020.

I recently published my book Te Hāhi Mihinare on Iwi engagement with Christianity c.1800-1992. The book has been long-listed for the NZ Book Awards 2021

Teaching | Current


Hirini is not currently teaching courses, but is in demand as a guest lecturer in a range of disciplines and fields.


THEOREL 208 Religious Resistance to Empire: Native and Indigenous Movements, 1900-1945

THEOREL 308 Religious Resistance to Empire: Native and Indigenous Movements, 1900-1945

HISTORY 227 Waitangi: Treaty to Tribunal

HISTORY 327 Waitangi: Treaty to Tribunal

HISTORY 705 Writing New Zealand


Postgraduate supervision


Graham Cameron, 'An historical contextual theology of Pai Marire, the first indigenous Christian faith', PhD, Otago

Charl Hirschfeld, 'Maori Rejoinder to the Ratification of Crown Institutional Racism in Aotearoa 1852-1931', PhD, AUT

Recently Completed

Ryan Anderson, ‘Te Kāinga Tupu’ Māori Cultures of Travel 1888-1918', MA Thesis

Shareena Dullabh, '‘Mana Wahine’: The Māori Women’s Welfare League and the Māori Play-centre Movement, 1951-1973', BA(Hons) Dissertation

Bailey Masters, 'Pākehā Perceptions of Kūpapa “Loyalty” and the Politics of Racial Alliances During the East Coast Wars, 1865-1872', BA(Hons) Dissertation

Kim Moore, 'Mātauranga Māori and Modernity: Reframing the Tohunga Suppression Act 1907', BA(Hons) Dissertation

Matthew Nickless, 'Through the Red Lens: Constructed Perceptions of Māori as a Violent Race, 1857-1873', MA Thesis

Jonothan Whyte, 'Towards defining a Northern political tradition: Hone Heke Ngapua, 1892-1909’, BA(Hons) Dissertation


New Zealand Journal of History Board of Management member

Auckland History Initiative Board of Management member

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Ethics Committee Member, Maori Health Committee advisor

Ministry of Social Development, member of Service Design Working Group to Strengthen and Grow Kaupapa Māori Responses to Sexual Violence

General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Member


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Kaa, H. (2014). Ngā hāhi – Māori and Christian denominations. http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/nga-hahi-maori-and-christian-denominations/page-1. Related URL.
  • Kaa, H. (2014). Indians, Mihinare and Anglicans: Caught in the Web of Transnational Histories. Te Pouhere Kōrero, 7, 35-46.
  • Kaa, H. (2014). He Ngākau Hou: Te Hāhi Mihinare and the Renegotiation of Mātauranga, c.1800-1992 The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
  • Kaa, H. (1/1/2013). The Prophets (Television Program) [Television]. Related URL.
  • Kaa, H. (2012). Sex, Sin and Salvation: Māori Morality through a Christian Lens. Te Pouhere Kōrero, 6, 27-34.
  • Kaa, H. (2000). 'Te wiwi nati’ : the cultural economy of Ngati Porou, 1926-1939 The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland. Related URL.


Contact details

Primary office location

OKARETA - Bldg 215
Level B, Room B01
New Zealand

Social links

Web links