WI REPA, Tutere
Founder of the Young Maori Party.
A new biography of Wi Repa, Tutere appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.
Tutere Wi Repa was born in 1877, at Hicks Bay, his father, Eruera Wi Repa, being related both to the Apanui and to the Ngati Porou. As his mother, Wahawaha Terehia, belonged to the Wairoa section of Ngati-Kahungunu, he was descended on both sides from Toi. In 1884 he attended Te Kaha School and in the next year won a Government scholarship which enabled him to study at Te Aute College, where he was respected not only as a prefect and assistant master but also as a footballer. He gained a Te Makarini scholarship in 1899 and entered the Otago Medical School. He graduated M.B., Ch.B. in 1906 and served as a junior house surgeon at Dunedin Hospital. When his application for the house surgeon's position at Gisborne was rejected, he decided to take up a medical practice among his people at Te Araroa, where he did sterling service. While a student at Otago University Wi Repa played representative rugby for the province, and was fullback in the teams of 1899 and 1903. He was captain of the University rugby team and a member of the executive of the Students' Association. In the early 1900s, along with other Te Aute old boys, including such famous men as Buck, Ngata, and Pomare, Wi Repa played a leading role in the formation of the Young Maori Party, which was an attempt to revitalise the race by means of forceful leadership, both in and out of Parliament. In his later years Wi Repa was a keen student of Maori tribal history and became a recognised authority on the subject. He was twice married, and died at Te Araroa, Hicks Bay, on 25 October 1945. He was survived by his wife, Miria, and by one daughter.
by Robert Ritchie Alexander, M.A., DIP.ED.(N.Z.), B.T.(CALCUTTA), PH.D.(MINNESOTA), Teachers' Training College, Christchurch.
- Te Aute Student Association Conference Papers (1898)
- History of Te Aute College, Alexander, R. R. (1951).