Tiaki Omana

Last updated

Tiaki Omana
Tiaki Omana crop.jpg
Omana in 1959
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Eastern Maori
In office
24 September 1943 30 November 1963
Preceded by Āpirana Ngata
Succeeded by Puti Tipene Watene
Personal details
John Ormond

18 December 1891
Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand
Died24 June 1970
Napier, New Zealand
Political party Labour
Relations John Davies Ormond (grandfather)
Rugby career
Rugby union career
Position(s) Loose Forward
Provincial / State sides
1923–25 Hawke's Bay 20 ()
National team(s)
1923 New Zealand 1 (0)

Tiaki Omana (18 December 1891 – 24 June 1970), also known by the English name Jack Ormond, was a New Zealand rugby union player and politician. He won the Rātana Movement's fourth Maori electorate of Eastern Maori in 1943 from Āpirana Ngata who had held it since 1905.



Early life

He was born John (Jack) Ormond on 18 December 1891 at Mahia, but became commonly known as Tiaki Omana. He was the fourth child of George Canning Ormond, a sheepfarmer, and his wife Maraea Kiwiwharekete who was of Ngāti Kahungunu. [1] He was of aristocratic Ngāti Rongomaiwahine descent and was also a grandson of John Davies Ormond, first Superintendent of Hawke's Bay.

A keen rugby player, even after joining the New Zealand (Māori) Pioneer Battalion and fighting in France during World War I, he was still able to play on the wing for the Pioneer Battalion team. Omana played Ranfurly Shield matches for his province, Hawke's Bay, and once for the All Blacks in 1923 against a touring team from New South Wales.

Omana was a sheepfarmer on the isolated Mahia Peninsula before becoming a Member of Parliament.

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
1943 1946 27th Eastern Maori Labour
1946 1949 28th Eastern Maori Labour
1949 1951 29th Eastern Maori Labour
1951 1954 30th Eastern Maori Labour
1954 1957 31st Eastern Maori Labour
1957 1960 32nd Eastern Maori Labour
1960 1963 33rd Eastern Maori Labour

A koata of the 'second cut', Omana first contested the Tairawhiti electorate of Eastern Maori in 1935, [2] finally winning the electorate in 1943. [3] As a Rātana/Labour member, he raised the issue of land claims, housing and health for Māori, and discrimination in social security. Omana held the electorate until his retirement in 1963, [3] when he returned to farming and to his original Church of England faith.

Former press gallery reporter Leslie Hobbs wrote that "Jack Omana, was one of the most popular and respected members of the House, but he never worked up any enthusiasm for party politics, particularly the fighting side of it. He liked everyone too much and everyone liked him." [4] He was noted as frequently bringing boxes of kumara grown his farm in Mahia back to Wellington as presents for his friend, but political adversary, Keith Holyoake (a fellow farmer). [1]


Omana died on 24 June 1970 at Napier and was buried at Mokotahi, Mahia Beach. [1]

Personal life

Omana married Nellie Airini Elizabeth Perry at the Cathedral Church of St John the Evangelist in Napier on 23 February 1921. The couple had twin children, a girl and a boy. They soon divorced on 29 November 1922. He later remarried to Polly Gemmell on 6 February 1926 at Wairoa. They had one child, a daughter who died in infancy. Polly herself died in 1949. Omana married a third time to Rangiwhakio Rarere (née Kemara), a widow, at Wairoa on 15 March 1962. She died soon after in November that same year. [1]

Ratana name

Tiaki Omana was also referred to as Hamuera after Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana's son Hamuera Ratana, symbol of the end of tohunga witchcraft.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Parekowhai, Cushla. "Omana, Tiaki – Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  2. The General Election, 1935. Government Printer. 1936. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  3. 1 2 Wilson 1985, p. 224.
  4. Hobbs 1967, pp. 54.

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New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Āpirana Ngata
Member of Parliament for Eastern Maori
Succeeded by
Puti Tipene Watene