Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Tame Wairere Iti (1952) is a Tūhoe Māori activist (New Zealand). He grew up in the Urewera area, and in the late 1960s and 1970s he was involved in protests against the Vietnam War, apartheid in South Africa and in many Māori protest actions. His ability to court controversy and his full facial moko (traditional Maori facial tattoo) make him well-recognised.
Iti became involved with Nga Tamatoa, a major Māori protest group of the 1970s, from its early days. He joined the Communist Party of New Zealand, and went to China in 1973 during the Cultural Revolution. He has taken part in a number of land occupations and held a hikoi to the New Zealand Parliament.
Iti has worked as a radio DJ and artist. He was a partner in an restaurant on Auckland's Karangahape Road that served traditional Māori food. The alcohol-free restaurant, which incorporated an art gallery, opened in 1999 and closed within a year.
He stood for Parliament as a candidate of Mana Māori in the 1996, 1999 and 2002 New Zealand general elections.
As of 2012 Iti has been employed by Tūhoe Hauora, a health service, for several years as a social worker dealing with drug and alcohol problems.
Tame Iti's ability to court controversy has made him a common feature in New Zealand news media. Iti has a full facial moko, which he described as "the face of the future" in New Zealand. During 2004 he wore a mohawk. The public arguably know Iti best for his moko and for performing whakapohane (baring his buttocks) at protests.