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No. 52 (September 1965)
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The Very Rev. J. G. Laughton

The Very Rev. John George Laughton, C.M.G., the pioneer Presbyterian missionary who spent most of his life among the Tuhoe people of the Ureweras, died at Rotorua on 3 July after a short illness. He was aged 74.

Mr Laughton was a former moderator of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, and was for many years moderator of the Presbyterian Maori Synod. A distinguished Maori scholar and an authority on Urewera history, he played a major part in the tremendous task of revising the Maori translation of the Bible.

Among the Tuhoe, Hoani Rotene (to give Mr Laughton his Maori name) was revered as one of the most honoured of elders.

Born in the Orkney Islands in 1891, he came to New Zealand in 1903, and was educated at Otago University. After five years spent as a Presbyterian Missionary in Piopio, Mr Laughton in 1918 was appointed to Maungapohatu, Rua's stronghold in the heart of the Ureweras. There he built and established the first church and school, and quickly won the friendship and respect of Rua and his followers.

In 1926 he and his wife, the former Miss Horiana Te Kauru, moved from Maungapohatu to Taupo. He was appointed Assistant Superintendendent of Maori Missions in 1933, and became Superintendent in 1936. In 1958 he moved to Whakatane when the Mission's headquarters was established there. In 1946 Mr Laughton was appointed Chairman of the Maori Bible Revision Committee, and four years later he went to England, together with his wife, to see the revised Bible through the Press.

In 1948 King George VI conferred upon him the honour of Companion of Michael and St George.

In 1956, on the constitution of the Presbyterian Maori Synod, Mr Laughton became its first Moderator, a position he occupied until his retirement six years later.

Two thousand people attended the tangihanga at Te Maungarongo marae, Ohope.

In a tribute to Mr Laughton, the Moderator of the Presbyterian General Asembly, Mr D. N. Perry, said ‘No words of mine can convey the sense of loss our Church will feel on the passing of this great and humble man … I believe history will speak with deep gratitude of his leadership and the solid foundation he has laid for a true and practical expression of Christian faith and deep harmony in race relations in New Zealand.’

Mr Laughton is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters.

Mr Rangiataahua Royal

Mr Rangiataahua Kiniwe Royal, O.B.E., M.C. and bar, died suddenly at his home in Rotorua on 8 July. He was aged 68.

The first Controller of Maori Welfare in the Maori Affairs Department, Wellington, Mr Royal was the person originally responsible for laying the foundations of the Maori Welfare Division of the Maori Affairs Department. His strength and honesty of purpose, his outstanding administrative ability and the genial warmth of his friendship won him widespread respect and affection.

Mr Royal was born at Otaki in August 1897, and after attending the Otaki primary school moved to Hauraki, where he attended the Thames and Paeroa High Schools.

In 1912 he became the country's first Maori scoutmaster.

He joined the Maori Affairs Department at Rotorua in 1916 and during his earlier years in the department he served as interpreter, consolidation officer and field development officer.

Mr Royal served in France in World War I and was discharged in 1919 with the rank of lieutenant. He was one of the first officers to volunteer at the outbreak of World War II, and served with distinction as major in the 28th Maori Battalion commanding B Company.

In Crete he was awarded the Military Cross for valour in leading a bold charge against German paratroopers at Suda Bay, and later in the Libyan campaign was given a bar to the decoration.

In 1945 he was appointed Controller of Maori Welfare and played a prominent part in the framing of the Maori Social and Economic Advancement Act of that year.

In 1956 Mr Royal retired to Rotorua. In 1964 he was awarded the O.B.E. for his services to the

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Maori people.

In the world of sport Mr Royal had an outstanding record. He played Rugby for a Maori team in France and England during World War I, and before that was an Auckland representative five-eighth. He was selected for the 1922 All Black team in New Zealand, but was unable to play because of an injury.

Later Mr Royal organised the first Maori cricket team to play in first class matches, and was a Rotorua and South Auckland representative. He also represented the district in rowing.

During his active years Mr Royal was a member of the Maori Advisory Board of the New Zealand Rugby Union, and on the national executives in hockey, tennis and golf, and organised the Maori Lawn Tennis Association.

In 1922 he married Te Puhi o Rakaiora Taiaroa, daughter of the Hon. K. Taiaroa of Otago.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters.

Mr William Rika

The death occurred in Rotorua last June of Mr William Rika. He was aged 59.

Born in Reporoa, Mr Rika was formerly prominent in hunting and dog trial circles. He was a foundation member of the Rotorua-Bay of Plenty Hunt Club, and served as whip for several years. He was a well-known competiter at dog trials in the Auckland province, winning events at Auckland and Waikato shows.

For a period he lived in Hamilton, working as a builder. He was a Maori warden and president of Ngati Hamutana.

Mr Rika was a member of the Ngati-Whakaue Tribal Lands Incorporation since its inception in 1961.

He is survived by his wife, two sons, Tony (Hamilton) and Len (Rotorua), and two daughters, Julie (Mrs Ngakuru, Auckland). and Carolyn (Rotorua).

Mrs Hinehou Roiri

The death occurred at Otaki last April of Mrs Anetanui Ruakahurangi Hinehou Roiri, a member of the Raukawa and Arawa tribes.

Mrs Roiri was a member of the well-known Tahiwi family. Together with her brother, the late H. Tahiwi. and her sister Mrs Ria Tahiwi, she was a member of a choral and action-song group which visited Australia before the war and made the first Maori records.

Mrs Roiri is survived by her husband, Maunga Kerehoma Roiri (of the Ngati Rahiri sub-tribe of Ngati Raukawa), by their children, Roy, Ria (Mrs Connor), Rota and Aroha, and by thirteen grandchildren.

We regret that in an obituary published in the last issue the late Mrs Roiri's name was incorrectly spelt. — Ed.

Mr Metekingi Takarangi

The death occurred at Wanganui on 2 July of Mr Metekingi Takarangi. He was aged 83.

Known on every marae throughout New Zealand, Mr Takarangi was a member of the Ngati-Hau-Apaparangi tribe and an elder of Putiki Pa. He was interested in and worked for many organisations for the welfare of the Maori people, and was patron of the Whanganui Maori Educational Advancement Committee. He was awarded the M.B.E. in the 1962 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to the Maori people.

He was a keen sportsman, his main interests being Rugby, the New Zealand Maori Golf Association and the New Zealand Maori Tennis Association.

Many Maori and Pakeha mourners, including visitors from all over the country, attended the funeral at Putiki Pa.

Predeceased by his wife, Mr Takarangi is survived by two sons, Te Mooro (Patea) and Mei Hunia (Auckland), and two daughters, Ngaamo (Mrs R. Jury, of Gonville) and Ani Reneta (Mrs R. Davenport, of Putiki). Another son, Wiripo, was killed on active service with the Maori Battalion.

Mr D. M. Jillett

Mr D. M. Jillett, officer for Maori education for New Zealand, died in Auckland on 1 July after a short illness. He was 59.

Mr Jillett, who was a trustee of the Maori Education Foundation, was appointed senior inspector of Maori schools in 1958. He took up his present position in 1962.

Born at Titahi Bay, Wellington, he was educated at New Plymouth Boys' High School and Victoria University. He taught in the Wanganui and Hawke's Bay Education Boards' districts and had wide experience of district high schools. He joined the inspectorate in Auckland in 1951.

Mr Jillett was active in New Zealand Education Institute affairs and was president in 1950-51.

He is survived by his wife, one son and two daughters.

Mr Tonga Awhikau

Mr Tonga Awhikau died last July at Lowgarth, South Taranaki, at the age of 102.

A highly respected elder, Mr Awhikau is remembered for the energetic efforts he made to help his people and to further harmony between Maori and Pakeha.

Mr Awhikau, who was a chairman of the West Coast Lands Committee, was born in 1863 at the time of the war with Titokowaru. He remembered the command to fire by Major Von Tempsky which started the famous battle of Te Ngutu-o-te-Manu.

He is survived by a son, Tui, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.