Mihaia: The Prophet Rua Kenana and his Community at Maungapohatu

Author(s): Judith Binney, Gillian Chaplin and Craig Wallace


Rua Kenana was an extraordinary prophetic leader from the Urewera. Resisting threats to expel the Tühoe people from their ancestral lands, he established a remarkable communityat Maungapohatu, identifying himself as the ‘Míhaia’ or ‘Messiah’ for Túhoe.

Judith Binney, Gillian Chaplin and Craig Wallace researched the history of the communityin the 1970s, working frst with a collection of photographs that they took to the Urewera. Sharing these photographs with descendants of Rua and his followers, they found that 'strangers opened their hearts to us, and shared their stories'.

This biographical account focuses on a dramatic moment in Urewera history, one that incorporated a shocking episode in early twentieth-century New Zealand. The rich photographic record documents not only the police assault on the Maungapohatu community but also the lives of the people and Rua’s utopian vision. The prophet lived into the 1930s, a leader still working to support and sustain his followers.Described on publication as 'an unparalleled record of a community through time', this remarkable history has been in demand since first publication by Oxford University Press in 1979.


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Judith Binney was the author of many award-winning histories, including Redemption Songs: A Life of Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Turuki (1995) and Encircled Lands: TeUrewera 1820–1921 (2009). Her work will appear also in Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History (forthcoming, 2012). Photographer Gillian Chaplin is a director of the Melbourne- based Magian Design Studio, specialising in exhibition design around the world. After graduating from Auckland University in languages and anthropology, Craig Wallace has managed literacy and English language programmes in several countries.

Introduction -- Chapter 1 The Prophet Ascendant -- Chapter 2 The New Jerusalem: The Community at Maungapohatu -- Chapter 3 The Law Against the Prophet -- Chapter 4 If Canaan is Destroyed, Can the New Canaan Arise?

General Fields

  • : 9781927131305
  • : Bridget Williams Books
  • : Bridget Williams Books
  • : November 2011
  • : 265x195mm
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Judith Binney, Gillian Chaplin and Craig Wallace
  • : 256
  • : 299.924420092
  • : 2nd
  • : Paperback
  • : Black and white illustrations