Motto: Ki te kahore he whakakitenga ka ngaro te iwi
(English: "Without vision the people will be lost.")
Anthem: "Waiata o Tangata"
("Song of the People")
Capital and largest city:
Te Reo Maori
88% Maori or Polynesian
Unitary parliamentary semi-constitutional diarchy
Kuia o Whenua (Empress):
Tamahine o te marama
Te Rata Te Rongomau
Mangai o Tangata (Speaker):
Nui Tohunga (Chief Justice/Priest):
Legislature: Whare o Tangata (House of the People)
Upper House: Kahui o Kaitiaki (Council of Guardians)
Lower House: Whare o Mangai (House of Representatives)
Total : 352,066 km2
2020 Census: 30,937,266
Total: ▼$759 billion
Per capita: ▼$24,548
Total: ▼$545 billion
Per capita: ▼$17,642
Drives on the:
a: Whakaara is the Imperial and constitutional capital and residence
of the Imperial family, however Tāmaki is the de facto capital and
headquarters of the government and legislature.
Marangawhenua, Rangiwhero and Motumakariri along with a chain of smaller inhabited islands in the north known as the Ika me nga maramara islands. The largest city is Tāmaki, which is also the commercial and de facto legislative capital of the nation. The constitutional capital is Whakaara, where the Imperial throne is located. Other major cities include Wharekorana, Kotiropai, Rakipa and Kaiika.
The nation's topography is varied, rugged and largely mountainous and as a result the nation is highly urbanised, with over 92% of the population residing in an urban area. The national language is Te Reo Maori although Japanese is a recognised minority language on the island of Mokumakariri as it is spoken by the island's indigenous Yuri people.
Fossil records suggest that the islands of Tangatarehua have been inhabited since around 40,000BC while the earliest written records date back to the 4th century AD. The majority of the population are Polynesian (specifically Maori) and it is believed that the Maori first arrived in the archipelago around 300BC. The nation's name literally means "the people of the God of the Stars" and much of the national identity is shrouded in mythology in the form of the state religion usually referred to as "Tikanga Wairua". The Empress, or Kuia o Whenua (literally "Mother of the Nation") claims divine ancestry with legend stating that the first Empress was the granddaughter of Puanga who was daughter of Rehua, the Maori God of the Stars. The nation saw increased contact with foreigners, especially Europeans from 1690 and evaded attempts at colonisation by Europeans during the 19th century, successfully staving off an invasion attempt in 1889 against all odds and cementing the nation's sense of pride and sovereignty. In the 1950s the nation attempted to expand its borders and create a Pan-Polynesian Empire but was ultimately defeated. The nation was also involved in a war from 1973-1979 in which it was also defeated, leading to the nation formally denouncing its right to wage war and maintain a standing army as part of its terms of surrender.
Historically, Tangatarehua has been a mostly matriarchical society however it is notable for its continuing diarchy. The Empress is the official head of state, however the head of government is usually the Rangatira, the traditional head of the armed forces and a position sometimes misleadingly translated as "Emperor" (however the Rangatira is not the consort of the Empress and ranks lower in the order of precedence). Te Kuia o Whenua is always a woman and the Rangatira is always a man and while the former is a hereditary position, the latter is technically an elected monarchy (but is in practice a hereditary and dynastic one). The Rangatira is represented by 21 Kaitiaki (Guardians) who act as governors of the 21 Iwi Whenua (tribal lands, sometimes referred to in English as 'provinces'). Since the 20th century, legislative power has been vested in the democratically elected Whare o Mangai (House of Representatives), with the Mangai o Tangata (Prime Minister) holding effective power of the purse. Tangatarehua has been praised internationally for its democratic and constitutional reforms since 1979 and is generally seen as an 'emerging democracy'.
Tangatarehua is a developing nation with a high-income economy. Since the 1980s the country has undergone rapid industrialisation and economic growth, leading to a growing middle class and increased standards of living. In recent decades the nation has seen increased press freedoms, democratic reforms and an improving human rights record. It is ranked 'partly free' by international NGOs and although the nation no longer maintains an official military, it maintains a well-equipped and funded "Self Defence Force". The nation is a member of the World Assembly and the Non-Aligned Movement.
"Tangatarehua" means "the people of Rehua", with Rehua being the Maori god of the stars from whom the first Empress was said to be descended. In some official documents, including the constitution, Tangatarehua is referred to as "Tangatarehua-nui" literally "Greater Tangatarehua" but understood in English to mean "Empire of Tangatarehua".
Historically Tanagatarehua only referred to the sections of land, primarily on the islands of Maranagawhenua and Moanapapa, which were held the the groups of Iwi (tribes) that had been united under Te Kuia o Whenua (the Empress) whereas Tangatarehua-nui refers to the empire that this group have formed over the entire archipelago.
When first contact was made with the outside world, the nation was frequently referred to using the exonym "Marangawhenua" or "land of the rising moon" due to this being the word used by Rehuans to refer to the land. However this was later discovered to only refer to the island of Marangawhenua, rather than the whole nation which continued to use the endonym "Tangatarehua" and from the 19th century "Tangatarehua-nui".
In antiquity the nation was sometimes referred to, by internally and externally, as "Ngati Puanga" (tribe of Puanga) or "Tangatapuanga" (people of Punanga) before the name was changed to Tangatarehua in the 4th century AD. "Ngati Puanga" now refers only to the house of the imperial family.
Prehistory and antiquity
The earliest evidence of human settlement in Tangatarehua dates back to 40,000BC, with the fossils discovered in Motumakariri suggesting that hominids may have settled the southern part of the country via land-bridges during the upper Palaeolithic period. From around 15,000BC most of the islands of Tangatarehua were settled by a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer culture today referred to as the Mohoao ("savage") people, who were likely the early ancestors of the Pango ("black") people who were one of the indigenous peoples of Tangatarehua. The Pango people are believed to share ancestry, DNA and many cultural traits with Australian aboriginals and are theorised to have originated in Melanesia. The Mohoao are today believed to have comprised of many distinct groups, with likely waves of arrival from Melanesia, South America, China (especially Taiwan) and as far afield as Siberia.
The first wave of Polynesian migration is said to have begun around 500BC, with Polynesians settling first on the northern island of Moanapapa and later Marangawhenua. This saw the rise of the "Potato Kingdoms" and is sometimes referred to as the "Kumara Period" due to the importance of kumara and potato as a crop and the rise of agricultural society. According to legend, the Rehuan people were guided to Marangawhenua ("the land of the rising moon") by the bright star and goddess Puanga, the daughter of Rehua. When they arrived on the island, Puanga is said to have given birth to a mortal man, Tangata Maori, who later took possession of the Whitu Tapu Taonga (Seven Sacred Treasures) and bestowed them upon his firstborn daughter Tamahine a te Puanga, who became the first Kuia o Whenua (Empress) of Tangatarehua. According to legend this took place around 270BC, but historians do not believe that there is any veracity to these events.
Some versions of events make reference to a dominant iwi (tribe) called Ngati Puanga who took control of all or most of the island of Marangawhenua in the second or third century BC, however most of these histories remained an oral tradition until the 4th century AD when they were recorded in the Tikanga Tangata Rehua ('Chronicles of Tangatarehua').
Tangatarehua became a mostly matriarchical society, directly ruled by the Empress and began expanding across Marangawhenua and most of Moanapapa, driving out the native Pango people and the remaining Mohoao people - many of whom are believed to have been killed and eaten as part of the controversial kaitangata (cannibalism) practiced by the nation's Toa (warriors).
The influence of the Toa on society grew steadily while questions about the role of males in society led to a series of armed revolts, with many Toa expressing an unwillingness to risk their lives for a series of Empresses who did not appear to value their lives or sacrifices. Furthermore the year 864AD saw Empress Kotero Peepi take the throne aged only three years old which sparked a massive revolt by the Toa who objected to the infant Empress being puppeteered by various ladies of the imperial court who had their own designs, ambitions and rivalries to exploit.
After refusing to obey orders by the imperial court, leading to growing lawlessness and a number of Iwi Kaitiaki (tribal leaders) threatening to break away from the Empress's authority, the young Empress was convinced (some say coerced) into appointing Te Whanui Whakatau, a local Kaitiaki as the first Rangatira whose task was the quell the various rebellions and reunite Tangaterehua.
Rangatira Whakatau was mostly successful and set up a strict hierarchical society which saw the Empress as the nominal head of state and himself as the head of government represented by various hand-picked Kaitiaki, below which were the Toa and finally the Kaihu (peasants). This represented a shift of Rehuan society in a more patriarchal direction and the beginning of the Te Whanui dynasty, while aspects of Whakatau's feudal system remain in place to this day.
In 910 there was a succession crisis following the death of Rangatira Te Whanui Koroheke, with his brother Te Whanui Hauauru initially succeeding him despite his wishes to be succeeded by his son Te Whanui Taioki. Taioki rallied a number of Kaitiaki who supported him and attempted a coup d'etat against his uncle which led to a three year civil war and the restoration of direct rule by the Imperial Court as a result when Empress Kaore-he-koreroteka stripped both Kaitiaki of their Rangatira and Kaitiaki statuses and exiled them to the island of Rangiwhero, marking the end of the Te Whanui dynasty.
In 1157 a similar crisis emerged in reverse in which Empress Wahine Hapu II, who had previously given birth to twin girls, died leading to questions over which was the legitimate heir to the imperial throne. Initially the "Mahunga Kuia" (Twin Empresses) attempted to co-rule but led not only to disagreements over policy but also questions of succession, with both desiring to be succeeded by their daughters. This led to the Rangatira at the time, Te Mana Hanga, to once again resume effective control of the country and in the end it was he who declared that the Mahunga Kuia would be succeeded by Tamahine Matamua, the first of the two daughters to be born.
When Tamahine Matamua ascended to the throne in 1178, supporters of her cousin, the pretender Princess Tawhai attempted to storm Rakipa castle to overthrow her. Te Mana Hanga ordered the new Empress to be taken to safety to the bottom of Marangawhenua to a place called Whakaara, while he quelled the rebellion and ensured that Princess Tawhai and her allies were executed for treason. Since 1178, Whakaara has remained the imperial capital, while the Rangatira continues to govern from Tamaki.
In 1232, Rangatira Te Mana Huaki launched a full scale invasion of the island of Rangiwhero, driving out the last of the Pango people and leading them into their first direct contact and conflict with the Yuri people (at the time referred to as "Kirima" and later "Huri") who lived on Motumakariri and parts of southern Rangiwhero. The two sides reached a peace settlement in which is was agreed that the Yuri people would retain the lands south and east of Maungapuia, while Tangatarehua would control the northern part of the island. The next few centuries saw an uneasy period of oscillation between trade and skirmishes with the Yuri.
In 1393, Rangatira Te Mana Kaupapa aitua was assassinated by a group of Kaitiaki from Moanapapa, led by Kaiwhakarite o te Raki who attempted to declare himself the new Rangatira. This request was refused by Empress Tika me te whakaaro nui who attempted to strip him of Kaitiaki status and have him arrested for treason. Te Raki then murdered the Empress, kidnapped her daughter, Princess Ngahuia, took her north to Rakipa and forced her to marry him and declare them the new Empress and Rangatira.
During this time, Princess Ngahuia's sister Princess Manaia who remained in Whakaara was officially crowned as Empress Te Whanonga Maia by the Tohunga and declared legit by virtue of her possessing the Seven Sacred Treasures. Te Whanonga Maia appointed Kaitiaki Te Mana Teina as the new Rangatira and ordered him to travel north to rescue Princess Ngahuia. Enraged, Te Raki declared himself an Emperor ('Ariki') and that Moanapapa was a new nation called "Tangatatangaroa" ("people of the God of the Sea"). Some of Te Raki's supporters in the south also formed breakaway nations, "Tanagatane" (people of the God of the Forests) and "Tanagatarangi" (people of the god of the skies). While Te Mana was able to easily able subjugate Tangatatane, in 1401 Te Raki and his allies Tanagatarangi both simultaneously swept down Marangawhenua, deposing both the Empress and Te Mana, unifying Tanagatarehua under his control.
Princess Ngahuia was crowned as a legitimate Empress, given the name "Ngahuia Whakakahore" but Te Raki demanded to still be referred to as an 'Ariki'. Following his death in 1417, the nation descended into a century of civil war known as the "Ariki Wars", with various Kaitiaki claiming to be his successor and a large number encouraged to emulate him by trying to form breakaway nations. In 1520, Te Raki's great great grandson Te Raki Kaiwhakamarie announced that he was relinquishing his claim to the tiitle of 'Ariki' and requested Empress Te Manawanui roa to instate him as a Rangatira. The Empress agreed and Rangatira Kaiwhamarie spent the remainder of his life quelling various rebellions and unifying Tangatarehua once again. He died in 1537.
In 1581, Rangatira Te Raki He Maia succeeded in conquering the entire island of Rangiwhero from the Yuri, as well as the Awakoi peninsula on the island of Motumakariri. In 1608, Rangatira Te Raki Ture Tino became aware of a plot against him by the Kaitiaki of Takutairoa and sent a large number of troops north to arrest him, before enacting strict laws forbidding anyone not a Toa or Kaitiaki from possessing weapons, as the the rebel Kaitiaki had attempted to form an army of peasants ("Kaihu-toa") to overthrow him.
Tangatarehua first made contact with Europeans ("Pakeha") in 1690 when a number of explorers came ashore in northern Moanapapa and later in Tamaki. From 1690 until the 1740s, this mostly came in the form of whalers and missionaries, including both Christian and Muslim missionaries and trade was peaceful. In 1741, Europeans brought muskets to Tangatarehua for the first time which alarmed the ageing Rangatira Te Raki Tawhito, who was alarmed at how advanced European technology was particularly regarding weapons and armour.
Tawhito ordered a small group of Toa to voyage to Europe and report and what they saw, particularly regarding technology and to bring back as much metal (Konganuku). By the time the first Rehuans to visit Europe returned to their homeland in 1755, Tawhito had already fallen victim to a coup d'etat leading to the "Musket wars" of 1755-1771 which ultimately culminated in the brief return of direct rule by the Empress and the end of the Te Raki dynasty.
In 1779, the Kaitiaki of Kotiropai, Te Ahunga Whakamua urged Empress Atete ki te huri that Tangatarehua needed to urgently modernise the military and society or else it faced the threat of European colonisation as had befallen so many other nations in the region. The Empress declared Te Ahunga the new Rangatira and although he reinstated the strict feudal hierarchy, he also began a widespread education programme based on information attained from the Europeans to ensure that at the very least they would be able to resist if colonisation was attempted.
The first major attack came in 1803, in which a number of gunboats were sent in to major ports only to find themselves sunk by a surprisingly well-organised and well-equipped Rehuan navy. Te Ahunga sailed north to the Ikame nga maramara islands, where the Pakeha invaders were based and took the islands from them, incorporating them into the Empire of Tangatarehua. In 1829, his son Rangatira Te Ahunga Aringa conquered the entire island of Motumakariri, forcing the Yuri people to assimilate into Rehuan society and in 1835 Aringa convinced the Empress to enact a number of western-style constitutional reforms, including the creation of a western-style Parliament, the Whare o Tangata.
In the early 19th century, Tangatarehua had been frequented by Christian and Muslim missionaries, with a number of Arab traders (through their relationship with the Yuri people) having founded a small city on northern Motumakariri which was later called Wharekorana. With a growing number of Rehuans converting to both Christianity and Islam, there was mounting pressure to declare one of them the state religion. In 1839, Te Ahunga Aringa died and was succeeded by his son Te Ahunga Karakia who had converted to Christianity.
In 1844, Karakia persuaded Empress Korero e te atua to declare Christianity the official religion of Tangatarehua, which she reluctantly did not realising that doing so would call into question her right to the imperial throne. In 1863, following the death of Te Ahunga Karakia she attempted to reverse the decision but now faced backlash from a large and growing number of Christians who wanted saw the traditional state religion Tikanga Wairua as heretical and idolatry. The Empress called on Parliament for support, given that they were directly elected representatives of the people, leading to the formation of Tangatarehua's first political parties which were based around religion.
The Empress died in 1870 and her successor, Empress Kaupapa-a-ture decreed that she would remain loyal to Tikanga Wairua but that citizens would have freedom of religion and that she was willing to appoint a Christian Rangatira in the form of Te Ahunga Whakaora as a display of her commitment to openness on the matter of religion - effectively making the nation a secular state. Although there remained an uneasy peace throughout the 1870 and 1880s until the death of Whakaora in 1885. The Empress reneged on her earlier commitment to appoint a Christian to the role of Rangatira due to the fact that Kaitiaki Te Ahunga Whananga, his designated successor, had openly stated that he felt the Empress should be overthrown for heresy and had no divine right to govern as a pagan.
In 1887, forced by an Act of Parliament, the Empress declared Whananga the new Rangatira which led to him and a large number of Christians desecrating sacred (Tapu) sites and declaring him a "Christian Ariki' in 1888, forcing the Empress to go into hiding. However in 1889, a number of Kaitiaki loyal to the Empress led by Kaitiaki Te Rata Whakahoki of Tamaki launched a campaign against Whananga, leading to the Restoration War of 1889-1891. Despite Te Ahunga Whananga receiving aid from Europeans, Te Rata was ultimately victorious and Te Ahunga was found guilty of treason, killed and eaten while the Empress was restored to her throne.
Te Rata Whakahoki was declared the new Rangatira, however from 1897-1901 Tangatarehua remained entrenched in sectarian violence bordering civil war and the Rangatira struggled to maintain control. For the next 20 years, Christians continued to dominate in Parliament leading to two decades of paralysis and stagnation with the Rangatira and Empress constantly vetoing laws, and the Parliament refusing to pass budgets. The Christian Party began to lose public support as a result and in the election of 1917 the traditionalist Tikanga Wairua Party won the election and began enacting a number of laws restricting freedoms on Christians, including their ability to run for Parliament, which had the full backing of the new Rangatira, Te Rata Whakakore. The election of 1920, due to the disqualification of most of their candidates, saw the Christian Party return no MPs to Parliament. In protest, they burned down a number of Tapu Marae which led to the controversial expulsion of ban of Christianity in 1921.
The next 30 years saw Christians significantly persecuted, with many exiled, escaping to other nations or outright killed, with the Rangatira arguing that this was in response to their desecration of Tapu sites and that Christians were nothing more than European puppets planning to colonise the state. This led to the formation of increasingly authoritarian and ultranationalist parties and in 1943 the Tanagatarehua Imperialist Party rose to power, continuing the anti-Christian policies but extending them to other minorities groups including Muslims and the Yuri whilst calling for Tangatarehua to form a pan-Polynesian empire.
Led by Rangatira Te Rata Porangi, Tangatarehua began its conquest in 1953, meeting little resistance until 1956 when it attempted to expand onto nearby continents and faced international condemnation and retaliation. Te Rata Porangi withdrew all forces in 1957 and abdicated in favour of his son Te Rata Pakanga. The nation was forced to pay reparations, but the Tanagatarehua Imperialist Party remained in power throughout much of the 1960s, excluding a brief period of rule by the Conservative Party from 1963-1966.
In 1972, Pakanga quelled an uprising by the Yuri people, demanding the independence of Motumakariri, earning international condemnation for his brutality. In 1973 Tangatarehua joined an international coalition to prevent a dictatorial nation nearby from waging a war of aggression against smaller countries and although this was initially seen as a just war, Tangatarehua soon gained more attention due to Pakanga's treatment of war prisoners (subjecting them to cannibalism) and his total disregard for civilian life. By 1977 the war had turned into a defensive war, in which Tangatarehua was now single-handledly facing off against a coalition of western powers. In 1979, Empress Awhinatia te hunga rawakore went behind Pakanga's back and announced publicly that the nation would surrender and amend its constitution to prevent similar atrocities occuring, in exchange for the continuation of the Tangatarehua national polity. This was the first and only time an Empress has ever addressed the people directly via the media. Te Rata Pakanga was deposed and tried for war crimes and human rights abuses, and executed in 1980.
Tangatarehua adopted a new constitution in 1979, outlawing extremist far right parties, enshrining certain human rights (including freedom of speech and freedom of religion) and renouncing the nation's right to have a military or declare war. While Te Rata Pakanga was succeeded by a new Rangatira, Te Rata Te Karere, the Rangatira's role became limited with the absence of a military. The nation has undergone rapid industrialisation since the 1980s as well as a series of free-market reforms. Although it's still not considered a democracy, modern Tangatarehua has adopted a number of liberal policies and has seen huge improvements in its human rights record.
Running north-south, the five largest islands are Ikame island (of the Ikame nga maramara island chain), Moanapapa, Marangawhenua, Rangiwhero and Motumakariri. The four main islands are very narrow, rarely running more than 400km east-west.
In total, Tangatarehua has a land mass of 352,066 km2. Due to the far flung nature of many of its smaller islands, the country has an exclusive economic zone of 4,102,338km2, meaning it controls maritime resources more than 11 times that of its total land area.
Most of the country's terrain is highly mountainous, with around 60% of the land considered uninhabitable. Although the nationwide population density is 88 people per km2, in practice it's much higher as the terrain has forced most of the population into a number of very densely populated urban areas. All islands are marked by volcanism and the nation is prone to earthquakes, sitting on an active fault line.
The highest point in the country is Maunga o te Rangi on the island of Motumakariri, at 3,755m closely followed by Maungapuia on the island of Rangiwhero at 3,721m. The longest river is the Awakotiropai river, which runs almost the entire length of Marangawhenua, 702km long.
There are notable geologic differences between the southern two islands, Rangiwhero and Motumakariri and the northern ones. The former appear to have once been part of a nearby continent and were once connected by landbridges during the ice age, while the northern islands of Moanapapa, Marangawhenua and the Ikame nga maramara islands all formed as the result of undersea volcanic activity.
The majority of the nation has a monsoon-influenced subtropical climate (Koppen: Cwa), although the west coast tends to receive more even amounts of annual rainfall putting them in either the humid subtropical (Koppen: Cfa) or Oceanic (Koppen: Cfb) category.
The northern Ikame nga maramara islands have a tropical climate (Koppen: Af or Am) while the southernmost island of Motumakariri and most of Rangiwhero have a humid continental climate with dry, freezing winters and hot rainy summers (Koppen Dwa or Dwb).
Snowfall is almost unheard of north of Marangawhenua, but the west coasts of Rangiwhero and Motumakariri both receive significant amounts of annual snowfall in the winter months.
All parts of the country tend to experience high amounts of rainfall in the summer, a phenomenon known locally as romata raumati ("summer tears") due to the influence of the southern monsoon season. The summer season also typically sees the country hit by tropical cyclones.
The hottest temperature ever recorded in Tangatarehua was 42.7°C (109°F) in Maaniapapa Prefecture, Marangawhenua while the coldest ever recorded was -43°C (-45.4°F) in Arakawa, Motumakariri.
Tangatarehua is a unitary parliamentary semi-constitutional diarchy and considered an "emerging democracy".
The Empress (Kuia o Whenua, literally "Mother of the Nation") is the ceremonial head of state and defined by the constitution as the "Symbol and embodiment of the spirit of the nation" and ranks first in the order of precedence and though she still holds a number of reserve powers, her primary role is the appoint the Rangatira and the Prime Minister. The Empress is hereditary through a system of matrilineal primogeniture.
The constitutional head of the executive branch of government is the Rangatira ("Chief" or "General"), who historically had been the head of the armed forces. The Rangatira is elected by the 21 regional Kaitiaki ('Guardians') for a life-term, making it officially an elected monarchy - though in practice the position is hereditary through agnatic primogeniture and has been dominated by a number of dynasties, currently the Te Rata dynasty who have held the role since the 1890s. Although the 1979 constitution saw increased limitations on the powers of the Rangatira, the position still holds a considerable amount of executive power including the power to control the nation's foreign policy, veto legislation and in certain contexts rule by decree.
Legislative power rests with the bicameral Whare o Tangata (Parliament, literally "House of the People"). The lower house Whare o Mangai (House of Representatives) consists of 310 members who are popularly elected in triannual elections via parallel voting. 210 of these seats represent single-member constituencies ("Rohe") while the remaining 100 are party list seats divvied out proportionally to all parties whose candidates receive more than 5% of the total ballots cast. The upper house Kahui o Kaitiaki (Council of Guardians) consists solely of the same 21 regional Kaitiaki responsible for 'electing' the Rangatira. Traditionally Kaitiaki are not popularly elected however this differs from region to region, with some Iwi (tribes) allowing the popular election of Kaitiaki, whiles others retain a strict hereditary system, or restrict eligibility only to those of the noble Toa class. While both houses have the ability to introduce legislation, only the House of Representatives has control over the national budget. Since 1979, the House of Representatives has been able to override the Council of Guardians with a 75% supermajority.
The House of Representatives is also tasked with electing the Mangai o Tangata ("Representative of the People") more commonly, though informally, referred to in modern times as the "Prime Minister or "Speaker". However, unlike other constitutional monarchies, the Prime Minister is not actually head of government and holds little executive power beyond being head of the legislature. The Prime Minister is, however, the official head of the Taapura (Treasury) and hold significant influence over the budget, making the position closer in equivalence to that of a Chancellor of the Exchequer or Minister of Finance than to other international Prime Ministers.
The judicial system is based traditionally around the customary law of Tikanga Wairua, the state religion which retains special status under the constitution. The Nui Tohunga is a position that is simultaneously Chief Justice as well as the highest ranked Priest of Tikunga Wairua - as such there is absolutely no official distinction between customary and religious law and civil law, nor any separation of church and state. Since 1835, Tangatarehua has established a western-style civil code based on Germanic and Napoleonic systems observed in Europe, with the 1979 constitution strengthening the role of statutes and courts and ensuring the independence of the judiciary despite their official links with religious tradition. The constitution distinguished between statutory law, passed by Parliament and religious law, passed by decree of tradition and states that if there is a conflict, the former takes precedence over the latter.
Tangatarehua has seen significant improvements in its human rights record since 1979, earning it praise from many foreign observors however significant problems remain.
Tangatarehua is classed as a "hybrid regime" by the Economic Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index. Although the nation has been said to have taken "giant leaps forward" toward democracy, especially regarding its ability to ensure free and fair legislative elections, observers still criticise the ability of the Rangatira to wield executive power without obstruction from the Parliament as well as the continued ability of the Empress to rule by decree, "even if by convention she doesn't, a future Empress could easily destroy the entire framework with a moment's notice if she desired to."
Freedom House considers Tangatarehua "Partly Free" but the nation has continued to raise its ranking every year and continues to rank highly on economic freedom. The main noted areas of concern centre around the lack of distinction between religious law and civil law as well as the aforementioned powers of the Rangatira and Empress.
Since the 1990s, Tangatarehua has ranked highly in press freedoms and continues to see rises in personal freedoms. The 1979 constitution guarantees the right to freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of religion and most observers note that generally the country has managed to uphold these freedoms. The nation has also seen rapid improvement on the "fragile states index".
Although capital punishment has not formally been abolished in legislation, it is abolished by convention due to comments made by former Empress Awhinatia te hunga rawakore, who called the practice 'immoral' during her famous 1979 speech announcing the nation's surrender. The controversial practice of kaitangata, execution by ritual cannibalism, has formally been outlawed since 1979.
The nation has universal suffrage in legislative elections and though traditional gender roles remain well-defined, by world standards sees considerable gender equality. The nation has a mixed record on LGBT issues, permitting homosexual relationships and usually recognising foreign gay marriage while refusing to allow civil partnerships or gay marriage within the country. Although gender reassignment treatments and surgery are illegal and considered a form of genital mutilation, the country does legally recognise a third gender, "Whaawhawhine" referring either to intersex individuals or more commonly to people of one biological sex who perform the gender roles of the opposite sex (e.g. females who are raised to become soldiers or men who are raised to be housewives), though in modern parlance the term increasingly apples to transgendered people too.
Foreign Relations and Military
Tangatarehua formally renounced its right to declare war in 1979 and since then has ceased to maintain an official military. However, the nation still retains a well-funded and equipped "self-defence force" with the Rangatira the official commander-in-chief of this force.
Foreign policy is controlled almost exclusively by the Rangatira, with Parliament's only input being in terms of budget for the Foreign Office. It is argued that having foreign policy controlled by an unelected leader ensures stability and will ensure Tangatarehua is seen as reliable and trustworthy by foreign partners, "rather than having foreign policy change every time a new government is elected".
Tangatarehua is not a member of the World Assembly, but is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement. The nation has in the past been an outspoken critic of western imperialism and colonialism but also of communism.
Since the 1980s, the nation has vigorously pursued free trade, open market and liberal foreign investment policies, allowing for the nation's rapid industrialisation. The nation sometimes attracts criticism for its whaling programmes, with whale meat (Tohura) a traditional food in Tangatarehua.
The nation is vocally opposed to the use of WMDs and a strong supporter of global nuclear disarmament. It is a signatory to many non-proliferation agreements and its constitution bans the nation from developing or possessing nuclear weapons, as well as banning other nations from entering Rehuan waters carrying nuclear weapons. Despite this, the nation is believed to possess the technology to develop nuclear weapons and is said to be "a screwturn away" from becoming a nuclear state "should there be a change in policy in the future".
Local government and law enforcement:
Main article: Prefectures of Tangatarehua
Tangatarehua is divided into 21 Iwi Whenua ("Prefectures") which are often further divided into various Hapu Whenua ("Districts").
Iwi Whenua are controlled by a Kaitiaki, which may or may not be an elected position but traditionally is a non-elected position held by members of the nobility. Hapu Whenua are more commonly controlled by elected Mayors (Koromatua) and sometimes have an elected council (Kahui) too.
In modern times the Kaitiaki rarely hold more than ceremonial power over their prefectures however they remain the official head of law enforcement in all regions, even though the day to day control of local law enforcement is usually handled by the central government.
Tangatarehua has generally low levels of crime and where it does occur it tends to be concentrated to economically deprived areas of large cities. Violent crime rates are lower than average. Citizens of Tangatarehua are strictly prohibited from owning firearms, swords, Taiaha (spears), machetes or hunting knives under all circumstances.
Main article: Population and largest cities
Tangatarehua has a population of 30,937,266 people. The population is highly urbanised, with 92% of the population residing in an urban area with a population greater than 100,000 while the ten largest cities alone comprise 74% of the population. The de facto capital city of Tamaki has a population of 9,370,256 and contains nearly a third of the entire country's population.
88% of the population is either Maori or another Polynesian ethnicity. Notable ethnic minority groups include the Yuri, a Japanese-speaking people of East Asian origin who are native to the islands of Motumakariri and Rangiwhero (9% of the population) and "white" people of European origin (2% of the population). The remaining 1% is made up other ethnic minority groups.
Largest cities in Tangatarehua
Ikame Nga Maramara
a Tamaki is officially a single city with a population of 9,370,256 but for statistical purposes is broken into two separate cities which straddle different islands and different prefectures. Even with the split, the two core cities both rank 1st and 2nd in population, individually outranking any other city in terms of population.
The 1979 constitution guarantees the right to freedom of religion, however the official state religion continues to be the indigenous Tikanga Wairua religion, based around Maori mythology and which includes the belief that the Empress is descended from the star god Rehua. 84% of Rehuans claim an affiliation with Tikanga Wairua, however these numbers do not necessarily reflect the number of true believers which is estimated to be considerably lower.
Some unofficial surveys have indicated that the number of true believers could be as low as 3% of the population, with 64% of Rehuans identifying as non-religious, however the official census data contradicts these claims. In practice, Tangatarehua is considered a very secular nation, particularly from the second half of the 20th century.
Christianity and Islam were both introduced to Tangatarehua by foreign traders during the 18th century. Islam is currently the second largest religion in Tangatarehua and is followed by an estimated 10% of the population. Wharekorana, the nation's second largest city, was originally founded by Islamic immigrants in 1750.
Christianity was a very dominant religion throughout much of the 19th and early 20th centuries and was briefly the official religion between 1844 and 1863. The late 19th century was marked by considerable violence between Christians and supporters of Tikanga Wairua, leading to the Restoration War of 1889-1891 followed by the "Christian Wars" of 1897-1901. In 1921, Christianity was officially outlawed following the desecration and destruction of a number of Tapu (sacred) Tikanga Wairua sites. Thousands of Christians were exiled to other countries, forced to renounce their faith or else executed for treason.
The controversial laws remained in effect until 1953 and resulted in a large diaspora of Rehuan Christians globally. Today Christianity is practiced by less than 1% of the population of Tangatarehua, ranking below Scientology.
Te Reo Maori is the official language of Tangatarehua, however until the 19th century the Rehuan version of the Maori language was written using Chinese and Japanese kana, rather than the Roman alphabet used by other Maori speakers. There are also significant dialectical differences between Rehuan Maori and other forms of Maori, although Rehuan Maori remains intelligible by non-Rehuan Maori speakers.
Since 1999, English has been compulsory in all Rehuan primary schools. Around 30% of the population claim some proficiency in English, with 8% claiming fluency.
Japanese is a recognised minority language, being the native tongue of the indigenous Yuri people of Motumakariri. Although the spoken language remains fundamentally the same as non Yurian Japanese, the Yurian version is written solely with the Roman alphabet, having abandoned the use of kana around the same time that it was abandoned by Rehuan Maori.
9% of Rehuans claim fluency in Japanese, although the language is considered endangered in Tangatarehua with fewer Yurian children learning Japanese in favour in Maori. Some local governments have attempted to keep the traditional Yurian language alive, for example parts of Motumakariri and Rangiwhero feature have bilingual signs in both Maori and Japanese.