Karauria Tiweka Ānaru (known as Claude) was born on 2 June 1901 at Raukōkore in the eastern Bay of Plenty. He was one of nine children of Tiweka Ānaru, a farmer, and his wife, Paretio Heremia, both of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui. During his early childhood he gained a deep understanding of Māori culture, language and whakapapa. He attended Raukōkore 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 Ānaru 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 Māori timber-cutting rights to sawmillers, requiring an intimate knowledge of Māori land ownership and associated legal procedures. In negotiating agreements Ānaru displayed an honesty and integrity that was appreciated by seller and purchaser alike.
On 8 January 1924, at Ōhinemutu, Ānaru married Hanahira Riripōtaka of Te Arawa. Officiating ministers were Pāora 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 Māori Women’s Welfare League, was organist at St Faith’s Church and was a justice of the peace.
Claude Ānaru remained with Hampson and Davys until 1944, when he joined the Native Department (later Department of Māori Affairs), working as a legal clerk. In 1951 he was appointed secretary to the Te Arawa Māori 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 Māori reception at Arawa Park, Rotorua, for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the duke of Edinburgh. Naturally courteous, his service with the Māori 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 Ānaru was secretary of the Eastern Māori electorate committee of the New Zealand National Party. He represented Māori on the Dominion Māori Advisory Council and in 1954 unsuccessfully contested the Eastern Māori seat as National Party candidate. During 1962 he was a member of the Board of Māori Affairs.
His services to the community were many and varied. Like his parents, Claude Ānaru was a staunch Anglican, and for more than 30 years he was a vestryman of St Faith’s Church, Ōhinemutu. 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 Māori people Claude Ānaru 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 Tūnohopū marae, Ōhinemutu, and the couple rest side by side in the family plot at Kauae cemetery, overlooking Lake Rotorua.