Kōkiri has a long, proud history having evolved into its current format through various incarnations that mirrored the changes the Ministry underwent.
The Department of Māori Affairs published Te Ao Hou (The New World) from 1954 to 1975, then Te Kaea (The Māori Magazine) between 1979 and 1981. Finally it produced Tu Tangata Magazine from 1981 to 1987.
The Department of Māori Affairs became two organisations; Manatū Māori and the Iwi Transition Agency (Te Tira Ahu Mahi). As Manatū Māori it published Ngā Kauwae, from 1990 to 1991. The Iwi Transition Agency published Iwi Express, during the same period.
In 1992, Te Puni Kōkiri (The Ministry of Māori Development) was established and the first Kōkiri Paetae edition rolled off the presses in 1996.
The publication underwent a redesign and a name change at the end of 2006 with the first edition of the new-look Kōkiri rolling off the presses in February 2007.
In 2014, the number of issues of Kōkiri was reduced and a new e-mail newsletter Kōkiritia was launched to be issued approximately monthly.
Kōkiritia means to thrust forward and champion a cause and through this newsletter we will be promoting ways in which we support Māori development.