Turning the Hearts of the Children: Early Māori Leaders in the Mormon Church

Selwyn Kātene


What inspired so many Māori in the 1880s to question the mainstream churches and flock to an American religion — the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon church? How did the Mormons encourage Māori leaders to pioneer the development of the Church in Aotearoa in the 20th century?

Out of stock

SKU: 978-1-927242-62-9 Categories: , , , Tags: ,


Respectful and humble Mormon missionaries had a genuine love and appreciation of Māori. They learned the language, blessed children and administered to the sick, lived among the people, slept on raupō mats and ate the same food. Their church set standards that required sacrifice and commitment from converts, but unlike other missionaries, the Mormons did not reject traditional Māori socio-cultural mores. They shared reverence for family and genealogy and were guided by visions and dreams.

This book discusses twelve influential men and women, all born in the 19th century, who joined the Mormon Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and became leaders. Each chapter is written by direct descendants of these rangatira, who by constructive attitude and action brought their people together and enabled them to embrace new concepts and move into a new century.

From the foreword by Sir Mason Durie
Turning the Hearts of the Children is a valuable addition to the expanding literature on Māori leadership and the role of leaders in paving a way for Māori within a global environment.’

About the author

A fifth-generation member of the Mormon Church, Selwyn Kātene is Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Māori and Pasifika, at Massey University and prior to that was director of MANU AO Leadership Academy. He has recently published The Spirit of Māori Leadership and co-edited He Kōrero Anamata: Future Challenges for Māori. Selwyn has a PhD from Massey University and a BA (Hons), MA and MPM from Victoria University. He is of Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngā Ruahine and Ngāti Tama descent.

Additional information

Dimensions 170 × 235 mm

, ,