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Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui


Hemi Parai


Portrait of Hemi Parai Hemi Parai belonged to the Ngati Haumia hapū of Taranaki iwi who came to Port Nicholson in the Heke Paukena (around 1833/34). His parents were Whangateataura and Tapuiatini. Three of Hem's siblings were Torangarere Pare (whose wife was Ruihi), Hohepa Te Raro or Ngaparu (whose child was Huihana Ngaparu) and Karoraina Pikia (whose husband was Hakaraia Te Poho-o-te-Rangi).

As a young man Hemi Parai joined with Mohi Ngaponga in leading a group of their people to settle in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, firstly at Ngauranga and then at Te Aro. At the gathering on Matiu/Somes Island in 1835, before the departure of the Ngati Mutunga and Ngati Tama for the Chatham Islands, Patukawenga awarded specific areas around the harbour to local iwi. Mohi Ngaponga was awarded the area of Te Aro between Kumutoto and Waitangi streams and Paekawakawa.

Hemi Parai was a very active correspondent, as shown in his writings to Governor Grey or his officials concerning Maori land. References to these writings may be traced in Land Court Minute Books, AtoJsonline, Donald McLean papers, and ATL manuscripts. (see below)

Hemi Parai signed the Deeds of Release at Te Aro in 1844 and in September 1847 he was appointed a native land assessor just before the first of the McCleverty awards were signed. His signature appears on a number of leases relating to Tenths land on behalf of others but he also appeared to have unique rights. In 1863 he was one of 3 remaining signatories, still living in Wellington, to have land granted 'to the Te Aro Natives' (Ngati Ruanui and Taranaki) at Porirua. Some who had signed as Te Aro Natives, had since died and the rest now lived in Taranaki. In 1873, Hemi sold Te Aro pa Sections 1, 2, 7 (24 perches) to the Superintendent of Wellington, and with Hori Ngapaka also sold Section 8 (20 perches).On 17 August 1875, Sections 120 and 121 Hutt Valley (197 acres) were proclaimed a native reserve and a Crown Grant was issued to Hemi Parai who in turn assigned the land - now parcelled into 12 blocks, to his people. The land had been let to Hemi Parai and others on the understanding that as soon as the amount of rent paid by them into the Treasury equalled the purchase money, the land should become absolutely theirs. (G3, 1876).

Hemi's first wife was Tawhirikura Karopihia, the grand daughter of Aniwaniwa and Tawhirikura, and she was closely related to Te Puni, Matangi and Kahukino, Te Wharepouri and Matengakuao, Hone Tohu Kakahi, Te Mihinga (parent of Mahau Tomairangi), Henare Te Keha and Ouetapu Munu.

The two children of Hemi Parai and Tawhirikura were: Tahana Niwa, (who died before 1878, and left no children), and Arapera Rongouaroa whose husband was William Ellerslie Wallace. For a time, Arapera and William lived at Ngauranga in a house owned by Manihera Te Toru, and William Wallace ran a coaching hotel. Arapera succeeded to Pakuahi's interest in Lot 8, Te Aro Pa because "she was his nearest young relative". Arapera was also one of many signatories to the Taranaki Deed of Sale no 27, Moa-Whakangerengere-Whakaahurangi no. 2, Block, Puketapu District.

Their son, Taare Warahi (Charles Wallace) who was born 1848 at Ngauranga, later lived at Johnsonville. His land holdings included sections at Wiremutaone, Otaki, Hawera, Opunake and Polhill Gully. Charles Wallace died 1932 at the age of 84 years and was survived by his wife Margaret (nee O'Toole) and six of their thirteen children: Ella Simeon, Doris Julia O'Connor, Hannah Bramley, Isabel Wallace, James Wallace and Cyril Wallace, with a remaining share of the estate going to the children of William Wallace (jnr) (deceased).

Arapera and William's daughter was Turia Warahi (Julia Wallace). Julia Wallace married James Te Tana Harrison who was the son of James Harrison and Mere Kapa Ngamai. Turia was the mother of Karo Turia Warahi (Mrs Geary), Tapuiatini Turia Warahi, Hone Turia Warahi and Tokarete Turia Warahi. Julia died in September 1910.

Hemi Parai later married Pirihira Matangi - the widow of Wi Kingi Te Awhitu and their two sons were named Te Awhi Parai and Mohi Parai..

The children of Pirihira Matangi and her first husband Wi Kingi Te Awhitu were Hana Te Awhitu (who married Tamati Te Wera), Ani Te Kai (Bluett) (whose daughter was Ani Waka Bluett - Durling) and Te Waaka Houtipu. Ani Durling was survived by seven children, each of who owned a block of land in Johnsonville. The youngest child was Faith Margaret Durling. Te Waaka Houtipu and his first wife had two children - Hare Waka (who died young) and Parehira Kare. He and his second wife (Hana Waitara) had no children.

Agnes - Mrs Simeon, was the daughter of Rawinia Te Rangikawawe and James McAlpine and was closely related to Te Aro elders such as Mohi Ngaponga, Te Teira Whatakore, and possibly Hemi Parai. She was also related to Te Whiti o Rongomai, Tohu Kakahi and Wi Tako Ngatata. In the Section 8, Block 11 land at Johnsonville, Agnes and Frederick Simeon left each of their ten children a section.

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Digitised Resources

From the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre (NZETC):

A to Js Online

Newspaper articles


From the National Library of New Zealand's Paperspast database :

From The New Zealand Digital Library's Māori Niupepa collection:

  • The Maori Messenger - Ko te Karere Maori 1855-1860: Volume 7, No. 13: 5: 2
  • The Maori Messenger - Ko te Karere Maori 1855-1860: Volume 7, No. 17: 34
  • Te Waka Maori o Niu Tirani 1871-1877: Volume 12b, No. 22: 290
  • The Maori Messenger - Ko te Karere Maori 1855-1860: Volume 7, No. 16: 8
  • Te Karere o Poneke 1857-1858: Volume 1, No. 1: 4
  • Te Haeata 1859-1862: Volume 2, No. 2: 2
  • The Maori Messenger - Ko te Karere Maori 1855-1860: Volume 7, No. 15: 44
  • The Maori Messenger - Ko te Karere Maori 1855-1860: Volume 7, No. 18: 52
  • Te Karere o Poneke 1857-1858: Volume 1, No. 46: 3

Letters & Manuscripts

Donald McLean Papers:

These letters are from the Donald McLean Papers, and are pertaining to land issues.

Letter from Matohi and Parae, Taranaki, 23 Mar 1848
Letter from Matohi and Parae to McLean, 23 Mar 1848Reference Number: MS-Papers-0032-0672A-10. Object #1030941
Available via Alexander Turnbull Library
Contains a roughly written English translation relating to a purchase.
2 pages written 23 Mar 1848 by Matohi, related to Hemi Parae, Taranaki region, Te Ati Awa, to Sir Donald McLean.
Letter from Hemi Karena Parai to McLean, 7 Apr 1848
Letter from Hemi Karena Parai to McLean, 7 Apr 1848Reference Number: MS-Papers-0032-0672B-06. Object #1030281
Available via Alexander Turnbull Library
Letter regarding the selling of lands by Maori who may not have the right.
3 pages written 7 Apr 1848 by Hemi Parai in Te Aro to Sir Donald McLean, related to Te Ati Awa.

The Alexander Turnbull Library

Here is a link to a search on TAPUHI (TAPUHI contains records for the items held in the Alexander Turnbull Library unpublished collections) for all material relating to Hemi Parai:

TAPUHI search (8 records in total)

Map of Te Aro Pa

This shows the locations of Hemi Parai's sections, from the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1871, p. 55.

Te Aro Pa, Wellington. C. 1 No. 2

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