Tu Wyllie

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Tutekawa Wyllie
Wyllie in 2013
Birth nameTutekawa Wyllie
Date of birth (1954-10-24) 24 October 1954 (age 68)
Place of birthManutuke, New Zealand
Height1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)
Weight69 kg (152 lb)
SchoolGisborne Boys' High School
UniversityVictoria University of Wellington
Rugby union career
Position(s) First five-eighth
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
1978–83 Wellington ()
International career
Years Team Apps (Points)
New Zealand
New Zealand Māori
0 (0)
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Te Tai Tonga
In office
Preceded byNew constituency
Succeeded byMahara Okeroa
Personal details
Political partyNew Zealand First

Tutekawa "Tu" Wyllie (born 24 October 1954) is a former New Zealand politician and rugby union player. A first five-eighth, Wyllie represented Wellington at a provincial level, and played one match for the New Zealand national side, the All Blacks, in 1980. He was the New Zealand First Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tonga from 1996 to 1999.

Early life[edit]

Born in Manutuke,[1] Wyllie affiliates to the Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Ngāti Ruapani and Rongowhakaata iwi.[2] He was educated at Gisborne Boys' High School where he played rugby for the 1st XV.[1] He then went to Victoria University of Wellington, where he studied law.[3] He worked as a bus driver, court clerk, teacher trainee and as a bureaucrat in the Ministry of Education, Iwi Transition Agency and the Department of Health.[4][5]

Rugby career[edit]

While at Victoria, Wyllie played rugby league for New Zealand Universities between 1975 and 1977. He then played representative rugby union for Wellington from 1978 to 1983 and New Zealand Māori from 1979 to 1982.[1] In the off-seasons he played overseas, in Ireland, the United States, Germany and France.[5] His sole appearance for the All Blacks came in 1980, when he played against the touring Fijian side, scoring a try.[1] The game was not recognized as a full international.

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1996–1999 45th Te Tai Tonga 36 NZ First

Wyllie represented Te Tai Tonga as a member of parliament from 1996 to 1999 for the New Zealand First Party.

He defeated 29-year parliamentary veteran Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan with a majority of 285 votes[6] enabling New Zealand First to capture all five Māori electorates in the 1996 election (including Te Tai Tonga). When the Tight five led by Tau Henare splintered from New Zealand First and created the Mauri Pacific party, Wyllie chose to remain loyal to the party core. During the 1999 election he sought re-election as MP for Te Tai Tonga, but chose not to stand on the party list. He was defeated by Mahara Okeroa of the Labour Party by 4522 votes.[7]

During his term in Parliament, Wyllie also played for the parliamentary rugby team.[8]

Post Parliamentary career[edit]

Protest against the sale of Young Nicks head[edit]

Following his defeat in the 1999 election Wyllie returned to Gisborne in an effort to assist Ngai Tamanuhiri to prevent the sale of Young Nick's Head (Te Kuri), a place of historical, and spiritual significance to local Maori. Wyllie stated that "It is the absolute jewel in the crown because Young Nick’s Head, or Te Kuri as we know it, is our equivalent to Hikurangi for Ngati Porou and Aorangi or Aoraki for Ngāi Tahu. It is our mountain, it is what identifies us as an iwi and we have some real issues about what’s going to happen to it in the future.".[9] Ngai Tamanuhri tribal members led by Wyllie conducted a protest march and pitched their tents on the grounds of New Zealand Parliament.[10]

He later lost his mandate as iwi spokesperson after he filed a judicial application to overturn Michael Cullen's decision to approve the sale of the landmark.[11] Young Nicks Head was consequently sold to American millionaire John Griffin.


  1. ^ a b c d Marist-St Pats RFC. "Tu Wyllie". New Zealand Rugby Museum. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  2. ^ Keene, Howard (8 September 1998). "Groomed for public life". The Press. p. 5.
  3. ^ "Rugby cup". Gisborne Photo News. 22 May 1974. p. 17. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Parliament". Truth. 18 October 1996. p. 10.
  5. ^ a b Speden, Graeme (25 November 1996). "Tu does what is asked of him". The Dominion. p. 2.
  6. ^ O'Hanlon, Sinead (29 October 1996). "Tribal leaders under attack". The Press. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Te Tai Tonga electorate profile". Parliamentary Library Te Pātaka Rangahau a Te Whare Pāremata. October 2005. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Revenge chance". Southland Times. 22 July 1998. p. 15.
  9. ^ Farrar, D, (2012) Blog post https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/12/treaty_settlements.html
  10. ^ New Zealand herald, (2002,August 13),Headland sale protesters leave Parliament, retrieved from https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=2349194
  11. ^ New Zealand herald, (2002, August, 22),Sacked by iwi, Wyllie keeps up fight for site,retrieved from http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=2351310
New Zealand Parliament
New constituency Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tonga
Succeeded by