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Couch, Manuera Benjamin Riwai

by S. G. Snow

Biography

Ā pau noa ōna rā he mea karanga kē te tangata nei a Mānuera Benjamin Rīwai Couch (Rīwai-Couch rānei) ko Pene Kaute (Ben Couch), te īngoa i hiahia kētia e ia. I whānau a Pene Kaute ki Te Whakaraupō (Lyttelton) i te 27 o Hune o te tau 1925, ko ia rā te mātāmua o ngā tamariki tokowaru a te tangata ahu whenua nei, a George Manning Moke Couch – he Ingarihi kē nei tōna pāpa, ā, nō Ngāi Tahu hoki tana māmā – rāua ko tana wahine ko Hinerua Rīwai o Rāpaki, nō Ngāi Tahu mai te pāpā, nō Ngāti Mutunga te māmā. Atu ki te waru tau tana pakeke, ka riro nā tana tāua ki te taha o tōna whaea, nā Mere Ngautanga Rīwai ia i whakatipu i Ōtautahi (Christchurch). He wahine pouaru kaiora kē nei a Mere, ka hia kē nei ngā tamariki o te whānau nāna i whakatipu. Hei whāngai i a rātou he kaitunu kai nei tāna mahi mā ngā tāngata kutikuti hipi. Ā mate noa ia, noho ana a Pene i raro i te whakapono Karaitiana o tana tāua me tana mahi mai ko tana kotahi.

Nō muri mai i tētahi hīanga paku noa nei āna, nō te tau 1933 i tonoa atu a ia ki a Heke Te Maari rāua ko tana tāne, ko Tāhana Jack Rīwai (hei tama tonu ki a Mere), noho ake ai i tō rāua kāinga i Kohunui, he pā taiwhenua nei e tata tonu atu ana ki Pirinoa i Te Wairarapa ki te tonga. Kuraina ana a Pene i te kura o Pirinoa me te Kāreti Māori o Ōtaki, ēngari he pāpōuri nōna i te kāreti i hoki atu ia ki a Mere, ā, atu i te tau 1940 ki 1942 tana roa e kuraina ana i te kāreti hangarau o Ōtautahi (Christchurch Technical College). Whai mai i muri i tēnā ka noho ia hei tauira mahi kāmura, āpānoa atu ki Ākuhata o te tau 1943, ka uru tūao atu nei ia ki te tauārangi roera o Aotearoa (Royal New Zealand Air Force). Otirā, kāore anō kia oti noa te whakaako i a ia hei paerata kairiri, ka whakaurua kētia atu nei ia ki te ope hōia.

Nō te tau 1945 i hoki atu ai a Pene Kaute ki Pirinoa, he hanga whare nei te mahi. Ka tūtaki anō rāua ko tana whaiāipo, ko Peti (Bessie) Tangihaere Carter o Ngāti Kahungunu me Ngāti Raukawa, nō mua i haere tahi ai rāua ki te kura tuatahi. Nō te 15 o Hūrae o te tau 1947 i mārenatia ai rāua i Whakaoriori (Masterton), ā, tokowhitu rawa ā rāua tamariki. He tangata ātaahua a Pene, ā, ki te āhua nei, mai i ō rāua tau tōmua ake, ka mutu ko Peti anake te tau o tōna ate, te wahine i arohaina e ia; noho ana ko tana mau kaha ki tana wahine me tana whānau te mea tuatahi o ērā atu anō o ngā tikanga, o ngā tohutohu rānei i ārahi nei i a ia mō te roanga atu o ōna rā, tae noa ki āna whakataunga i āna mahi tōrangapū. I tana huringa atu ki te hāhi o Peti, he mea iriiri ia i te tau 1949 hei mema mō te Hāhi o Ihu Karaiti mō Te Hunga Tapu o ngā Rā o Muri Nei (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Nō muri mai i meinga a ia hei kaumātua mō te hāhi, hei perehetini mō te peka haukāinga, ā, hei perehetini atu hoki mō te rohe o Te Wairarapa. He mea tino tautoko anō hoki e ia te tikanga whakaraupapa a te tangata i a ia, te mana o te ture, ā, mā te kaha ki te mahi e ahu whakamua ai. Tautokona ana hoki e ia te mahi mā te hapori, me te āwhina mārika atu nei i te mahi whakatikatika i te hunga hara, tae atu ki te āwhina anō hoki i te hunga e hiahia āwhina ana, ahakoa Māori, ahakoa Pākehā rānei. He mea aki anō hoki e ia ngā kaupapa e whakamanawa nei i te Māori ki te pupuri i ā rātou tikanga ā-iwi, me te kaha ki te tiaki tonu i a rātou i te ao nei e muia kētia ana e te Pākehā.

Pau noa ōna rā ngākaunui atu ai a Pene Kaute ki te tākaro nei, ki te whutupaoro, hei tākaro noa ka tahi, ā, ka rua, hei whakamanawa i te tikanga tākaro ā-tīma hoki, me te whakakotahi i te tangata ahakoa te karangatanga, te tūranga, e ōrite katoa ana i te tākaro nei. He tangata tākaro whutupaoro tonu hoki a Pene Kaute, he toa nei ia i te tūranga topatahi. Nō te tau 1947 i haere ia me te tīma toa o Aotearoa (All Blacks), tākaro haere ai i Ahitereiria, ēngari kotahi noa tana tākaro whakataetae. I roto anō hoki ia i te tīma toa Māori o Aotearoa i te tau 1948 i haere rā ki Whītī me Ahitereiria, ā, e rua anō hoki āna tākaro whakataetaetanga mō te tīma toa o Aotearoa i te wā kāinga i te tau 1949, ka toa kē nei ko Ahitereiria. I taua tau anō i aukatia a ia me ētahi atu Māori i te kōwhiringa o te tīma whutupaoro i haere ki Awherika ki te Tonga i te tau 1949, otirā, nā te tikanga momotu iwi o tērā whenua te take i kore ai rātou e āhei ki te haere. I roto anō hoki ia i te tīma o Te Wairarapa i te tau 1950, ka hinga nei i a rātou te tīma o Ngā Pākihi-whakatekateka-a-Waitaha (Canterbury), ka riro mai nei i a rātou te Hīra a Ranapare (Ranfurly Shield). Taihoa ake anō hoki, whakanōhia a ia hei mema komiti, ā, hei perehetini anō hoki mō te uniana whutupaoro o te ngahere o Te Wairarapa (Wairarapa Bush Rugby Football Union). I tua atu i tēnā i meinga anō hoki a ia hei kaikōwhiri mō te tīma o Te Wairarapa, hei kaiwhakahaere hoki mō te tīma toa Māori o Aotearoa, nō te tau 1973 i huri haere ai i Te Moananui-a-Kiwa. Whakanōhia mai anō hoki a ia hei kanohi Māori mō te kaunihera o te Kotahitanga Whakahaere o ngā Mahi Whutupaoro Rakapī o Niu Tīreni (New Zealand Rugby Football Union Council).

I ngā rua tekau tau atu i 1950 i noho a Pene Kaute i Pirinoa, he hanga whare te mahi. Atu anō hoki i ngā tau tōmua atu o te tekau tau atu i 1950, he kaikānataraka kutikuti hipi anō tana mahi. I te nuinga o tēnei wā, he maha kē nei te hunga poropeihana e mahi ana māna, he mea tuku atu e ngā kōti ki a ia hei tautiaki. Noho ana ko te momo whakamātau a Pene Kaute – ka nui kē nei te momoho – arā, ko te kaha ki te mahi, ko te mahi tākaro, ko te whānau, me te āhua o te noho ake anō i papa whenua, wāna mahi i waitohua e ia hei tauira hei whakaora ake i te hunga nei. Whakatūria ana hoki a ia hei āpiha poropeihana, hei wātene Māori, ā, hei mana whakaāio hoki. Ko te īngoa aroha nei o te iwi kāinga mōna me ana tāngata mahi ko ‘Ali Baba rātou ko ngā tāhae whā tekau’ .

He nui tonu nei te wā i pau i a Pene Kaute e mahi ana mā te rohe kāinga, me ērā o ngā rōpū Māori pēraka i te komiti Māori o Pirinoa me tērā o Te Wairarapa. He wā anō nei i noho ia hei mema mō te Kaunihera Māori o Niu Tīreni (New Zealand Māori Council). Nō te tau 1973 i nuku atu ia ki Whakaoriori, ēngari i kaha tonu tana mau ki ōna hononga ki Kohunui.

Nō te takiwā o ngā tau tōmua atu o te tekau tau atu i 1960 i tīmata ai te whakauru atu o Pene Kaute ki ngā mahi tōrangapū o te motu. Nā te mea he kaitukumahi, kaiumanga nei ia, ā, e ai ki tāna, he tangata ia hei tauira mō te tangata noa o Aotearoa nei, i tīmata mai pea he rawakore noa, ēngari i te mutunga ake kua tangata tū mana motuhake, i pai ki a Pene te Rōpū Nāhinara o Niu Tīreni. Ka mutu nei tana tū hei tiamana mō te rohe pōti Māori o Te Tai Tonga me āna mahi hoki mā ngā peka o te rōpū Nāhinara o Pirinoa me Whakaoriori, ka whakataetaetia e ia te rohe pōti Māori o Te Tai Tonga i te tau 1963, me tērā o Te Wairarapa i te tau 1972, ēngari kāore i waimarie. Ahakoa tonu nō te tau 1975 i pōtitia a ia hei mema Pāremata mō Te Wairarapa, ko ia nei tētahi o ngā Māori tuatahi, tokorua nei rāua, i toa i te pōti rohe whānui. Nō te tau 1978 i whakatūria a ia hei Minita mō ngā Take Māori me te tūranga minita anō hoki o te Tumuaki Matua o ngā Poutāpeta (Postmaster General); kāti, nō te tau 1980 i makere mai ia i te tūranga Tumuaki Poutāpeta, meinga kētia ana a ia hei Minita mō ngā Pirihimana, me tana puri tonu hoki i te tūranga Minita Māori. Hāunga rā, i te pōtitanga o te tau 1984 i raru a ia, ā, ahakoa tana tū anō mō te rohe pōti o Ākarana ki te hauāuru (West Auckland) i te tau 1987, kore rawa ia i hoki ki te Whare Pāremata.

Ka nui kē nei te rerekē o ngā whakaaro mō te āhua pai o Pene Kaute hei kaitōrangapū. He mea whakahē tonu āna mahi e ngā nūpepa o te motu, ā, i ētahi wā nei, he whakarōrā kē te mahi i a ia hei tangata mōiriiri ki te maka kōrero tōrangapū, pā mai ana te whakamā. Ahakoa anō, tino mīharotia ana a ia i tōna rohe pōti hei tangata tapatahi, tangata pono, i tino ngākaunui kētia e ia ngā painga o rātou mā, ko ia nei tō rātou kanohi. E ai ki te kōrero a tana hēkeretari pānui, a Gordon Wills Johnson, he momo tangata kē anō a Kaute, kāore ia i rite ki te nuinga atu o ana hoa tōrangapū nā te mea kore rawa ia i akona ki te kōrero parau, ki te kōhetehete, papare kē rānei i te take. He tangata mārama noa āna take whakapono, i ngā wā katoa he whakamātau tonu tana mahi ki te whakaū.

I a ia e hāramuramu noa ana te kōrero, he kīwaha, hangareka kē nei tana momo kōrero, auau tonu tana whakatoi i a ia tonu, inā kē nei te pai o āna kōrero ki te maha o te tangata. He tangata kāore i tītahataha te kōrero, i huna rānei i te whakaaro, ā, ahakoa te kaikiri kē o ētahi o te hunga e whakarongo ana, i te mutunga mai, ngākau pono kē ana rātou ki a ia. I tētahi wā, ko ia nei te Minita o ngā Pirihimana, he tirotiro haere tana mahi i tētahi pāmu whare herehere, ka tumeke i a ia ngā mauhere, inarā, mai i tana hope tangohia katoa ake e ia ana kaka, ka kutikutia e ia he hipi ruarua nei. Kāore i tino pai ki a ia ngā mahi whaikōrero kua oti kē nei te hanga, ā, ahakoa he kaha tonu ia ki te whakataka, kāore i tino pārekareka ki a ia te pānui atu i aua kōrero. Itiiti noa tana kaha ki te kōrero Māori, ēngari nā te mea ko ia te Minita Māori, he mea ako ā-kupu tonu e ia ana whaikōrero reo Māori.

He tangata tino whakamīharo nei a Kaute ki tana Pirimia, ki a Robert Muldoon, ā, e ai ki tāna, nā tērā rā ia i ako, hei aha noa te whai i te manako. Ko tā rātou mahi kē he mahi mā te iwi, ehara kē i te whakamanako. Ki te kōrero a Pene Kaute, ahakoa te aha, ka whai tonu ia i te tangata rā. I a ia e Minita Māori ana, ko ana kōrero e kaha rā te takaruretia, ki a ia nei, he tangata nō Niu Tīreni ia i te tuatahi, kātahi anō he Māori. Ki tāna anō, ehara ngā mahi whakatika mai i ngā raru o te Māori i te mahi whakarangatira i a rātou, ēngari he mahi whakakaha kē ake tēnei i te Māori e tareka ana e rātou te whai te oranga kia mau tonu ai te mana o ā rātou tikanga i tētahi Aotearoa e noho ana i runga i te whakaaro kotahi. He mea āwhina anō hoki e ia te tīmatanga o te tino kaupapa nei, o te Kōhanga Reo. I kaha anō hoki tana akiaki i te whakaaro noho pūmau ki tōna anō iwi, ā, mā reira mai te tuakiri me te tū whakahīhī o te tangata, kia mōhio ai ia ko wai ia, nō hea hoki ia. E ai ki tā Pene Kaute, arā, ki tā te Minita o ngā Pirihimana rā, nā te ngaro haere kē atu o ngā tikanga whānau, me te ngaro haere atu hoki o te āhua o te whānau tuku iho, i noho ko tēnā te take nui i taka kē atu ai te tangata ki te hē. He mea whakahauhau anō hoki e ia ngā kōti kia kaha ake te whiu i te hunga hara.

Ahakoa nō mua atu i pokea ake tana mahi tākaro whutupaoro e te kaupapa momotu iwi, i whakapono kaha ia, me mau tonu ki ngā herenga tākaro atu ki Awherika ki te Tonga, ā, i ngā tau i muri mai e rua nei ōna haerenga atu ki taua whenua. Ki tōna whakaaro he whakaritenga tōrangapū kē te kaupapa momotu iwi o Āwherika ki te Tonga, ā, ehara kē i te kaupapa hei whāwhātanga atu mā Aotearoa; ki tāna anō me waiho kē mā ngā rōpū tākaro o ia whenua e whakaaro me ka mau tonu te whakapā atu, ka aha kē rānei; ki tāna anō, me ka mau tonu te whakapāpā atu o Aotearoa, kātahi ka taea te whakapai ake, te whakarerekē hoki i ngā whakaaro me ngā kaupapa o Awherika ki te Tonga. I mea anō hoki a ia i te tau 1980, nā te mea he Māori ētahi o te tīma toa o Aotearoa o 1970 i haere ki Āwherika ki te Tonga, i noho ai taua tīma hei niho whakaratarata i ngā mahi e whakakorikori mai ana i taua whenua.

I te haerenga mai o te tīma toa o Āwherika ki te Tonga (Springboks) i te tau 1981, puta ana te kaha o te ātete. E ai hoki ki tāna, ko te mahi mā ngā pirihimana me tāna, tā te Minita, he whakaū noa i te pai o te noho ki tā te tikanga o te ture. Ki tāna anō hoki e tika tonu ana i raro i te ture me te taha whanonga hoki, kia haere tonu te tākaro whutupaoro, ā, nā reira, ko te mahi mā ngā pirihimana he whakatutuki i te haere tonu o ngā tākaro nei. I tautokona e ia te mahi a ngā pirihimana ki te whakamahi i ngā āhua katoa o te ture hei whakanuku atu i te hunga ātete, ā, e ai ki tāna, kua oti kē i a rātou te whakarite kia whai i te huarahi kōkiri, kanohi ki te kanohi. Ki tāna anō, he tuohu kē te mahi tika a te tangata ki te mana whakahaere, me te manaaki anō hoki i ngā tikanga a te tangata kē; heoi anō, ko te mahi tōrangapū whakapāpōuri rawa atu i a ia, ko te whakamōhiotanga atu i a ia, i te Minita rā o ngā Pirihimana, kia kaua e haere ki te kite i ngā tākaro whakataetae. Ahakoa te maha o te hunga Māori, Pākehā atu, i whakahē i tōna tūnga mō tēnei me ētahi atu take, tērā atu anō te hunga e tautoko ana i a ia pēraka i te hunga e noho mai rā i ngā wāhi o waho atu i ngā tāone.

Mai i te tau 1985 ki 1986 i noho mihinare Mōmona a Pene Kaute rāua ko tana wahine i ngā Kuki Airani. I tōna hokinga mai ki Whakaoriori, ka whakapau nei i ōna rā, i mahi ia ki te whakahou i te marae o Tuhirangi i Kohunui. Ahakoa nō hea mai te moni, me ngā kaimahi rānei, whakamahia ana e ia te maha o ōna pānga me tana manawanui ā-whakaaro tapatahi ki te kimi haere, ka noho ake nei ko ia te kaihautū o te komiti whakahaere i te mahi whakatū whare hou, me te mahi ake hoki i ngā poupou me ngā tukutuku. E ora tonu ana a Pene ka whakairotia he poupou e mau ake nei te whakamāoritanga o tōna īngoa, o Pene Kaute. Kātahi te mahi whakahōnore whakaonge i te tangata ko tēnei! I riro nā ngā mauhere o te whare herehere o Wī Tako i whakairo, kei waho tonu mai o te whare matua e tū ana. Mō āna mahi tūmatanui, i tohua ia i te tau 1977 ki te Mētara mō te Tiupiri Hiriwa o te Kuini (Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal), muri iho ki te Mētara Whakamaumahara o Aotearoa o te tau 1990 (New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal), ā, i te tau 1991 ki te Ōta Whakanui Ratonga a te Kuini (Queen’s Service Order).

I ngā tau tōmua ake o te tekau tau atu i 1990 i noho ake a Pene Kaute hei tumuaki whakakapi mō te Rōpū Whakahaere Āwhina Iwi (Iwi Transition Agency) o Whakaoreore. Atu i te tau 1993, i noho ake ia hei kōmihana mō Te Ohu Kai Moana (Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission), ā mate noa. I tana pānga e te mate rehu ohotata i te tau 1993 me te poronga atu o ōna waewae i te mate huka, haere tonu ai ia ki ngā hui a Te Ohu Kai Moana mā runga tūru wīra. Nō te 3 o Hune o te tau 1996 i mate ai a Pene Kaute, ka mahue ora mai nei ko tana wahine me ā rāua tamariki tokoono.


Hononga, rauemi nō waho

Ētahi whakaaro puaki, takenga

    ‘Ben Couch: hardliner with a soft spot’. Te Maori. Oct.–Nov. 1980: 6–12

    Gustafson, B. The first 50 years. Auckland, 1986

    Obit. Evening Post. 6 June 1996: 7


Me pēnei te tohu i te whārangi:

S. G. Snow. 'Couch, Mānuera Benjamin Rīwai', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 2000. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/mi/biographies/5c39/couch-manuera-benjamin-riwai (accessed 21 March 2019)