Karauria Tiweka Anaru (known as Claude) was born on 2 June 1901 at Raukokore in the eastern Bay of Plenty. He was one of nine children of Tiweka Anaru, a farmer, and his wife, Paretio Heremia, both of Te Whanau-a-Apanui. During his early childhood he gained a deep understanding of Maori culture, language and whakapapa. He attended Raukokore Native School and progressed well; teachers recognised his potential and from 1916 to 1919 he went to Te Aute College, where his father had also been a student.
In 1920 Claude Anaru took up a position as interpreter and law clerk with the legal firm Hampson and Davys in Rotorua. Much of the work related to the sale of Maori timber-cutting rights to sawmillers, requiring an intimate knowledge of Maori land ownership and associated legal procedures. In negotiating agreements Anaru displayed an honesty and integrity that was appreciated by seller and purchaser alike.
On 8 January 1924, at Ohinemutu, Anaru married Hanahira Riripotaka of Te Arawa. Officiating ministers were Paora Temuera and F. A. Bennett. The couple were to have six children. Hanahira had qualified as a registered nurse at Napier Hospital. She played a prominent part in the Waiariki branch of the Maori Women’s Welfare League, was organist at St Faith’s Church and was a justice of the peace.
Claude Anaru remained with Hampson and Davys until 1944, when he joined the Native Department (later Department of Maori Affairs), working as a legal clerk. In 1951 he was appointed secretary to the Te Arawa Maori Trust Board, and helped the board through the difficult period of rapid expansion. In association with Rei Vercoe and Norman Perry, he set up district councils of tribal executives and played a major role in organising the 1954 Maori reception at Arawa Park, Rotorua, for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the duke of Edinburgh. Naturally courteous, his service with the Maori Affairs Department and his legal training enabled him to conduct the board’s affairs in a manner that brought a great deal of mana to the office. In 1966 poor health forced his retirement.
Keenly interested in politics, Claude Anaru was secretary of the Eastern Maori electorate committee of the New Zealand National Party. He represented Maori on the Dominion Maori Advisory Council and in 1954 unsuccessfully contested the Eastern Maori seat as National Party candidate. During 1962 he was a member of the Board of Maori Affairs.
His services to the community were many and varied. Like his parents, Claude Anaru was a staunch Anglican, and for more than 30 years he was a vestryman of St Faith’s Church, Ohinemutu. He was a Rotorua borough councillor from 1947 to 1956 and deputy mayor. Appointed justice of the peace in 1947, he became president and first life member of the Rotorua and District Justices of the Peace Association. He was a member of the Rotorua High School Board of Governors for about 15 years. Other interests included the St John Ambulance Association, Rotary, and numerous local welfare, music and sporting organisations. An able sportsman, he played representative rugby for Rotorua and enjoyed deer stalking, duck shooting and pig hunting in his spare time.
For his services to local bodies and the Maori people Claude Anaru received the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal in 1953 and was made an OBE in 1957. He died at Rotorua on 30 October 1977, survived by Hanahira and his six children; Hanahira died in 1993. Both tangihanga were held at Tunohopu marae, Ohinemutu, and the couple rest side by side in the family plot at Kauae cemetery, overlooking Lake Rotorua.