Prominent historian John Mitchell passes away

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga staff were saddened to learn that Māori historian and well-known Nelsonian, John Mitchell, passed away in September. 

John and Hilary Mitchell with their new book, 'He Ringatoi'expand/collapse
John (Ngāti Tama, Te Atiawa, Taranaki Tuturu and Ngāti Toa Rangatira) was a prolific writer. He had just recently published his latest book, He Ringatoi O Ngā Tupuna, co-written with his wife Hilary.  

Together, between 2004 and 2014, John and Hilary wrote the award-winning four volume series Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka. The project came about following a request in 1988 from the Kaumātua Council of Te Runanganui O Te Tau Ihu O Te Waka A Maui to produce a generic history of Māori from Te Tau Ihu. This work was later used to support their Treaty of Waitangi claims during the 1990s. 

Our Māori heritage and regional staff met up with John and Hilary at various events in and around Nelson over the years. John was deeply involved in Te Ao Māori in Whakatū. He was the Whakatū Marae Secretary in the late 1970s early 80s and was a board member of Whakatū Incorporation from 1988-94.  

He was the first chair of the Ngāti Tama Trust and was deputy chair of Te Runanganui o Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Maui. 

John will be widely remembered for his research, his historical writings and his commitment and contribution to many local, regional, and national organisations. 

Our deepest sympathy is extended to Hilary and the Mitchell whānau.

- David Watt