Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

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Te Ropiha Moturoa

(1790? - 1874)

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Moturoa was one of three brothers who came to join Patukawenga of the Ngati Mutunga tribe to Port Nicholson in 1827. He belonged to the Matehou hapu who had called themselves the Hamua when living in Taranaki. Moturoa was the son of Te Wehenga. His elder brother Te Matoha died in about 1833 in the Wairarapa. Moturoa's younger brother Wi Kingi Wairarapa lived at Pipitea until the 1860's when he moved back to Taranaki. Moturoa had 1 daughter who married a whaler called Wilkinson and went to England.

Moturoa adopted the name Ropiha after his baptism by John Hobbs and he remained a Methodist for the rest of his life. His widow Ramari Hinekarori or Ramari Ropiha was the daughter of Hoani te Matahiwi and died February 1886 at Taranaki. His first wife Ahinga had died in the 1840s. She was Patukawenga's sister.

Moturoa is often mentioned in records dealing with the new settlers to Wellington in the 1840's and was the senior chief at Pipitea Pa and in the subdivision of Pipitea Pa in 1867 he was awarded section number 2 with his wife Ramari and nephew Wereta te Matoha. He held a portion of the Orangi Kaupapa reserve in Tinakori Road and he was awarded 7 acres adjacent to Aro Street in the McLeverty awards in 1848. This area appears on early maps under the name of Moturoa's reserve and was sold by him to John Martin in 1866 for development. He fought on behalf of the settlers against Rangihaeata (1845) and Mamaku (1847). Like Wi Tako, Moturoa was granted payment for lands taken for settlement in 1844. He is listed as one of the hospital visitors by Doctor Fitzgerald in 1848 and was in attendance at the function in Wellington to celebrate the presentation of the Queen's portrait in 1849. He is also mentioned as visiting government officials in Taranaki in the early 1840's. Moturoa was one of eight chiefs to sign the Deeds of Release relating to local land at Pipitea on the 26th February 1844.

The present day Moturoa Street in Thorndon is formed adjacent to his section in the Pipitea Pa and during the 1840's his neat weatherboard house and potato crop were commented on. On the 13th December 1874 Moturoa died and after his tangi was held at Te Aro Pa he was buried in the Bolton Street cemetery.

References:
Scholefield. G.W. A dictionary of NZ biography. 1940.
Jellicoe, R.L. The New Zealand Company's Native Reserves. 1930.
Roberts. J.H. Wesleyan Maori Mission in New Zealand. 1943.
New Zealand Times, 14th December 1874.
Maori Land Court. Wellington MB 1H p.208-212.
Maori Land Court. Wellington MB 1 p.190.
Maori Land Court. Taranaki MB 3 p.338-352.
Ward, L. Early Wellington. 1928.

Korero o te Wa I Raraunga I Rauemi I Te Whanganui a Tara I Whakapapa