Mr FRANK WINTER
the well known South Island Maori leader, Mr Frank Winter, was recently appointed national secretary of the New Zealand Institute of Architects. From just on 50 applicants, the selection committee was unanimous in choosing Mr Winter.
Frank Winter is a grandson of the late Mrs Eliza Thomas (nee Raiha Tamati) of Riverton.
Education at Te Aute
Mr Winter received his education at Te Aute College, where he was dux in 1922. He remembers his old school with affection. ‘I regard my time at Te Aute as most valuable in that it reinforced my appreciation of my Maori ancestry. It also gave me the basis of a very wide acquaintance of Maoris belonging to tribes other than Ngaitahu.’
In 1924 Mr Winter joined the Maori Affairs Department and for the next nine years he was employed in the Ikaroa and South Island District Office in Wellington. During this period he gained a wide knowledge, particularly of his Ngaitahu people and their claims.
Stay in Gisborne
After this he was transferred to the Tairawhiti District Office of the Department in Gisborne, where for five years he was Senior Court Clerk, and later, Consolidation Officer.
‘My wife and I enjoyed our stay in Gisborne very much indeed,’ he says, ‘and found them to be very fine people there.’
During this time he took a keen interest in Maori welfare work and education.
While he was in Gisborne he enlisted for the Maori Battalion, but was not accepted for overseas service; he did, however, serve for a period on Home Service, being for a year an instructor in the Maori Home Guard Training Corp at Hicks Bay.
Mrs Winter was formerly Perle Hera Taiaroa. Both her grandfathers, the Hon. H. K. Taiaroa and the Hon. Tame Parata, were South Island Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislative Council. She is a younger sister of Puhi, the wife of Mr Rangi Royal.
Mrs Winter, or Perle Taiaroa as she then was, was a pioneer dental nurse, joining the School Dental Service in 1926 shortly after its inception, and serving in New Plymouth from 1928 to 1931. She was the first Maori girl fully to qualify as a dental nurse.
In 1947 the Winter family came to Wellington again when Mr Winter was appointed Assistant General Secretary of the New Zealand Public Service Association. Later he was appointed Deputy General Secretary, the position he held before his retirement from the Association last February.
Chairman of Ngaitahu Maori Trust Board
For the past eight years Mr Winter has been chairman of the efficient and thriving Ngaitahu Maori Trust Board. He is also chairman of the Akapatiki ‘A’ Block Incorporation.
Mr Winter has been patron of the Victoria University Maori Club since its inception; was national treasurer of the Citizen's All Black Tour Association; and is a past secretary of the Poneke Maori Committee.
Mrs Winter also takes a most active part in many organisations. She is vice-president of the Wellington Executive of the Pan-Pacific and South East Asian Women's Association, and has for many years been a member of the Maori Women's Welfare League; a former president of the Poneke branch, she has also been a vice-president and treasurer of the Wellington District Council of the League. She is also a member of the Arohata Women's Borstal Association, a voluntary body which takes a personal interest in the girls at Arohata, and does much to help them.
Mr and Mrs Winter have five children. Michael is a dental practitioner in Dunedin. Anne (Mrs Smith) was formerly a dental nurse in Greymouth, Wellington and Christchurch. Janet (Mrs Kerr) was a school teacher in Wellington and Featherston. Another daughter, Frances is Senior Clerk in the Department of Statistics. The youngest in the family, David is a school teacher at Newtown.
No ‘Cash Maoris’
Mr Winter feels strongly that people of Maori descent should be genuinely interested in their Maori side, and glad to acknowledge it—especially if they are claiming any material advantage from the fact that they have Maori ancestors. This feeling is shared by the other members of the Ngaitahu Maori Trust Board, and the Board has often stressed that those people wishing to benefit from the Maori money which the Board administers should be proud of their descent; it is not sufficient to be merely a ‘cash Maori’, one who acknowledges descent only when such acknowledgement is likely to produce a cash benefit.
One thing is certain: no-one could ever doubt the Winter family's pride in their ancestry — ‘Though perhaps it is not really correct,’ Mr Winter says, ‘to use the word “pride” in this context. The point is that like most, if not all Ngaitahu, we hold both sides of our ancestry in equal regard — and we naturally expect others to do the same. In this sense, I suppose that it would perhaps be right to describe us as being “integrated”.’