Meri Te Tai Mangakahia (1868–1920), of Te Rarawa, was born in the Hokianga district. Her husband, Hamiora Mangakahia of Hauraki, was elected Premier of the Māori Kotahitanga Parliament in 1892. At a meeting of the Parliament in Hawke’s Bay in 1893 Meri Te Tai presented a motion requesting that women participate in the selection of members. She later addressed the Parliament on her motion - the first woman recorded to have done so.
During her speech she urged that women should not only be allowed to vote, but also to sit in the Māori Parliament as members. In her view many Māori women owned lands in their own right and should have a say. The matter lapsed, but Meri Te Tai remained involved in Māori politics and welfare, and took part in the Women’s Committee of the Kotahitanga (Maori unity) movement. This Committee was a forerunner of the Māori Women's Welfare League.
Meri Te Tai died of influenza in 1920, aged 52.