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No. 66 (March 1969)
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Rikihana Etana

The death occurred at his home at Te Kao on 27 December, 1968, of Rikihana Etana in his 72nd year. Educated at the Te Kao Native School and then at St Stephen's School (which at the time was at Parnell, Auckland), Etana returned to his home at an early age and enlisted for overseas service during the first world war. He was only 17 years old when he left for overseas.

Following World War 2, he returned home and took a keen interest in the tribal history of his people. Still a comparatively young man, he was appointed Secretary and scribe of the Aupouri-Rarara-Ngapuhi Genealogical Committee — a committee formed to investigate and record the genealogies of these tribes and their connection with other ancestral ‘canoes’.

In the 1920s, the Maori Land Development Scheme was launched in the far north with Judge F. O. V. Acheson, President of the Taitokerau Maori Land Board, taking a leading part in supporting the Aupouri's claims for land development. Rikihana Etana was one of many who strongly supported this move. By the time the elders of the tribe had died, Etana was the only member of the tribe who was fluent in tribal genealogies, which were a great advantage to the tribe in making claims for various land blocks as well as assuring visiting tribes of their lineage connection with the Aupouri.

Rikihana Etana took an active interest in all affairs relating to his people, being the first Secretary of the Aupouri Trust Board, a position which he held throughout the Board's life until a few months prior to his death, a Secretary of the various Land Incorporations, Chairman of the local Maori Committee and School Committee and a spokesman for the tribe at various gatherings and functions.

His funeral, one of the largest ever assembled at Te Kao, was attended by the Judge of the Maori Land Court, Mr Nicholson, the District Officer of the Department of Maori Affairs, and representatives of the various organisations and tribes with which he was associated throughout the years. He is survived by his widow, Ani, and a family of nine children.

Ka ngaro koe te pononga a te Aupouri. Takoto mai i te Toko-o-te-Arawa me te iwi, me te whanau. Hoki a wairua atu ki to whanau e takoto mai ra i te pae o Tu. ‘He tao huata e taea te karo, he tao na aitua, e kore.’ E moe e Riki — nau i takahi te pae o te riri, takahia atu te ara o te tini o te mano. E moe i roto i te Ariki.

Waata Tepania

Within the space of only three months, the Aupouri Tribe in particular has suffered grave loss in the number of outstanding figures and personalities in the tribe. On Monday 20 January, on his way from Ahipara to Te Kao to assist his people at Te Kao to prepare the marae for a Vice-Regal visit in February, Mr Waata (Walter) Tepania died as a result of an accident, which occurred at Ngataki. Mr Tepania was in a truck driven by his son, Mr James Tepania. When the truck struck a deep hole, the door flew open, throwing Mr Tepania, his daughter-in-law and a young child onto the road. Mr Tepania died instantly but none of the other passengers were injured.

Chairman of the Taitokerau Maori District Council, a member of the New Zealand Maori Council, and a member of both the Taitokerau and Aupouri Maori Trust Boards, Mr Tepania was a leader and elder of both the Aupouri and Rarawa tribes. A resident at Ahipara, he was born at Wai-mahana and as a lad attended the most northerly school in New Zealand — Te

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Hapua. He worked as a farmhand, a kauri bushman, a bullock driver, a cartage contractor, a commercial fisherman and then became a building contractor. Always interested in the affairs of his people, Mr Tepania took an active part in promoting the education of his people and the retention of Maori culture. It was he who was primarily responsible for the erection of the Ohaki Meeting-house at Ahipara.

A prominent member of the Roman Catholic Church, his interests were not limited to his own church as far as religious matters were concerned. Again it was he who was primarily responsible for the renovation of the Ahipara Anglican Church. Speakers at his tangi held at Ahipara, at which a very large number gathered, referred to him as the ‘needle which was responsible for sewing the churches together as well as the people.’ A forthright and fearless speaker, Mr Tepania represented his tribes at various national gatherings, being respected for his dedication and sincerity of purpose.

So, Te Aupouri and Te Rarawa have again lost another of their notable sons — an irreparable loss which is mourned by many fortunate to know him.

E Wa, nau i takahi nga marae tini o te motu. Ko koe te manu korero o te Tai-tokerau, kua wahangu nei i tenei ra. Kua pania to iwi. Haere ra; kua okioki koe i o mahi; e moe i roto i te Ariki.

Riwai Tawhiri

Mr Riwai Te Hiwinui Tawhiri died in Gisborne last September at the age of 90. He was the last surviving Te Aute College contemporary of Sir Peter Buck.

Mr Tawhiri studied at Nelson Theological College, and although ordained a deacon of the Anglican Church, became a school-teacher and taught at Maori schools in Northland, Waikato and the East Coast. He was one of the first Maoris to become a headmaster. Music and tennis were two of his major interests.

During his retirement, Mr Tawhiri lived in Auckland, returning to Gisborne only three months before he died. While in Auckland, he told his story of ‘The Lost Finger’ to Harry Dansey, and it was published in our issue 63.

Mr Tawhiri is survived by two sons.

Waipounamu Te Wheki

A very well-known figure in the Morrinsville area, Mrs Waipounamu Te Wheki, died on 28 October. She was a sister of the late Te Hau Tanawhea, a chief of Ngati Haua.

Born in 1881, she was one of the last survivors of her generation.

Hipirini Te Kata

Another elder of Ngati Haua has died, Mr Hipirini Te Kata, aged 82. He was born in Te Awamutu area and attended Te Aute College. Mr Te Kata became highly qualified as an interpreter, working with the Maori Affairs Department, the Maori Land Court, an Auckland firm of solicitors, and finally in his own business at Te Awamutu.

Later in life, Mr Te Kata took up farming at Te Awamutu before returning to his home marae, Parewere. He was an ordained apostle of the Ratana church.

Mr Te Kata, who was married twice, leaves a large number of descendants.

Popo Heta

One of Rotorua's oldest Maoris, Mr Popo Heta, died on 18 December in Rotorua Hospital.

Mr Heta, who was born at Karamuramu, was 104 years old. He was five years old when Fort Galatea was built, and could remember Gilbert Mair, leader of the fighting Arawa column, going through Kaingaroa during the Te Kooti campaign.

He leaves a daughter, Mrs Miria Te Tomo, eight grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

Tumeke Wehipeihana

A large number attended the tangi for Mr Tumeke Wehipeihana, who died on Christmas Day, aged 89. The service was conducted at Kuku Pa, Ohau.

Mr and Mrs Wehipeihana had recently celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary.

Keith Henderson

An unusual tribute was paid to Mr Keith Dawson Henderson, with the holding of a tangi at Judea marae after his death in Tauranga on 7 January.

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Both Mr Henderson, who had recently retired after being headmaster at Bethlehem Maori School for 11 years, and his wife, were honorary members of Ngati Ranginui. Mr Henderson, a Pakeha who held the status of an elder at the Judea, Wairoa and Bethlehem maraes, was accorded full chieftain's honours.

Mr Henderson had a strong interest in Maori education and welfare, and with his wife was active in fostering Maori culture. He leaves his wife, Sylvia Ashton-Warner, two sons and a daughter.

Mererina Te Rore

Mrs Te Rore, who was born in Waiwhatawhata, Hokianga, in 1887, died last December. She was a descendant of Moetara, and widow of Raniera Te Rore Taoho.

Many welfare organisations benefited from her support, and she made the rebuilding of the Waikaraka marae and the maintenance of its cemetery her particular responsibility.

Mrs Te Rore is survived by five of her nine children, 27 grandchildren, and 76 great-grandchildren.