Māori Prophets Come To Life In Māori Television Series

The stories of Māori spiritual leaders are explored in THE PROPHETS, a captivating new series to premiere on Māori Television on Tuesday, May 7 at 8.00pm.

Presented by Rev Hirini Kaa (son of the late Dr Hone Kaa) and produced by the award-winning Scottie Douglas Productions, THE PROPHETS uncovers the epic stories of the Māori prophets who rose to prominence in times of great change.

 “The tales of individual prophets has been the inspiration for films, novels and history books, but there has never been a comprehensive account for television – until now,” says producer Meg Douglas.

From the time The Bible began to be widely translated into te reo Maori in the 1830s through to the middle of the 20th century, the show chronicles the lives, beliefs and social conditions that saw these messianic figures rise from within Māori communities.

Starting with leaders like Papahurihia, the first prophet to draw on Māori and Christian doctrine, emerging with a new form of traditional Maori spirituality to more well-known prophets (Te Kooti, Te Whiti and Tohu and Ratana), THE PROPHETS unveils an incredible part of our nation’s history.

Over seven episodes, the series personifies the response to colonisation and a spiritual paradigm that is almost unimaginable to conceive of today.

“Some of their narratives are stories of reconciliation and peace, while others are tales soaked in blood,” says Douglas.

One episode profiles Te Kooti Arikirangi, founder of the Ringatū faith, and resistance leader who spent time on the run from colonial forces in the Urewera.

Another prophet, Rua Kenana, seen as the heir of Te Kooti, constructed a village in the heart of the Urewera to house his growing number of followers, and was later arrested as the government became more concerned over his growing influence in New Zealand.

Journeying around the country, THE PROPHETS reveals the true stories of these iconic figures, challenging not only our own perceptions of their lives, beliefs and teachings, but also the spiritual beliefs of Rev Kaa.

“I found it wasn’t just my sense of history that has been challenged, the experience has transformed me on a personal level. I guess you could say I’ve undergone a bit of spiritual metamorphosis during the making of this series,” says Kaa.

Produced by Meg Douglas, directed by Tainui Stephens and Libby Hakaraia and shot by legendary cinematographer, Leon Narbey, THE PROPHETS is Scottie Productions’ most ambitious project yet.

Tune in to THE PROPHETS on Tuesday, May 7 at 8.00pm on Māori Television.


Rev Hirini Kaa (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungungu, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine)

Hirini Kaa is a third generation Anglican minister currently completing his PHD in History at Auckland University. The son of the late Archdeacon Dr Hone Kaa, Hirini has always had a passion for religious history and especially the religious history of Aotearoa.

Over the course of filming the series, Hirini has searched for voices that can’t be found in history books - talking to followers and ancestors of the prophets, as well as local historians. During filming Hirini heard stories of the Maori prophets from people with an intimate knowledge of their lives, their teachings and their legacies. 

Episode information: 

Episode One: Papahurihia   (7 May)

Episode Two: Te Ua Haumene (14 May) 

Episode Three: Te Kooti Arikirangi (21 May)

Episode Four: Rua Kenana (28 May) 

Episode Five: Tohu and Te Whiti (4 June)

Episode Six: Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana (11 June)

Episode Seven: The Prophets today (18 June)

For interviews, images or further information contact:

Brooke Hawe

Kaiwhakaputa Tuarua

Junior Publicist

Māori Television

DDI          +64 9 539 7148