1. (verb) to be of high rank, become of high rank, enobled, rich, well off, noble, esteemed, revered.
Ki ahau ia kua mōkaitia a Taranaki; kātahi anō ka rangatira (MM.TKM 14/7/1860:46). / But in my opinion Taranaki have been enslaved; only recently have they gained esteem.
2. (modifier) high ranking, chiefly, noble, esteemed.
I heke mai i a Matakore rāua ko Wai-harapepe ētehi o ngā whānau rangatira o roto i ngā iwi o Tainui (NIT 1995:195). / Some of the chiefly families of the Tainui tribes descend from Matakore and Wai-harapepe.
3. (noun) chief (male or female), chieftain, chieftainess, master, mistress, boss, supervisor, employer, landlord, owner, proprietor - qualities of a leader is a concern for the integrity and prosperity of the people, the land, the language and other cultural treasures (e.g. oratory and song poetry), and an aggressive and sustained response to outside forces that may threaten these.
Kei te whakamanamana a Rewi, ānō nei ko ia te rangatira (PK 2008:21). / Dave is strutting as if he is the chief.
Te rangatira, he kairanga i te tira: i te tira o te hapū, o te iwi, ki ngā haere, ki ngā mahi e pā ana ki te hapū, ki te iwi. He kaiārahi. He kaitīmata, he kaiwhakatutuki i ngā mahi, ka whai ai te iwi i raro. Ka kīia te tinana pēnei he 'rangatira' ko tēnei kāwai rangatira tonu tēnei, e manaakitia ai, e piki ai, e mana ai, ki roto ki tētahi iwi kē (TTT 1/5/1926:400-401). / The chief is a weaver of people: of both hapū and iwi and in their travels and endeavours concerning both the hapū and iwi. She is a leader. She is a starter and finisher of tasks and so the people follow her. She is said to be a chief because of her aristocratic lineage whereby she is hosted generously and her mana increases amongst other tribes.