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Te Awhitu, Wiremu Hakopa Toa

by Max T. Mariu

Biography

I whānau a Wiremu Hākopa Toa Te Āwhitu ki Ōkahukura, e tata atu rā ki Taumarunui, i te 28 o Hūrae i te tau 1914, ko ia rā te Māori tuatahi i whakatapua hei pirihi Katorika. Ko ia te tuatoru o ngā tamariki tekau a Tamakaitoa (Toa rānei) Te Āwhitu rāua ko tana wahine, ko Katarina Tōia Bell; tokowhā anō ngā tamariki a Katarina i tana mārena tuatahi. Ko Ngāti Hāuaroa me Ngāti Maniapoto ngā toronga iwi o te whānau nei. Nā te mea nō tētehi whānau rahi ia, me te whānau whānui nui, i mōhio ai a Wiremu ki te tikanga nui o tēnei mea o te tūariari, ahakoa he aha, me te pipiri o te mahi a te tangata.

Ko tōna koroua, arā, te pāpā o tōna whaea, ko Alexander Bell, ko ia rā te Pākehā tuatahi i whakaaetia kia noho mai ki te Rohe Pōtae. He whenua tēnei e rari noa ana te kai me te mau o te whakatō o ngā pakiwaitara me ngā kōrero o nehe rā. E muia ana ngā awa o Ōngarue me Whanganui e te tuna me ētehi atu tū ika; pū ana te ngahere pōkai nei i te kīnaki, i nāianei kua ongeonge kē, kua rāhuitia kētia rānei. I reira anō hoki te poaka pūihi, te tia, te pikopiko me te kōmata. Nā tana noho i runga i te pāmu a te whānau, i mārohirohi ai tana tinana, i pakari hoki ōna whakaaro, i tino kaha hoki tana manawanui. I akona ia ki tēnei mea ki te iho o te pukumahi, ēngari koa mahue ake ana a ia hei tangata tino hūmārika.

I Ōngarue, i Ōkahukura a Wiremu Te Āwhitu e kura ana i te tuatahi. Ka mutu ko te tangata nāna a Wiremu i arataki, ko R. A. Watson, he mea karanga e te Māori ko Te Miro Wātihana. Ko te tumuaki tēnei o te kura i Ōkahukura, he tangata Ingarihi nō muri nei i huri hei Katorika. I mahi ia i te taha o ngā pirihi ‘Puke Mira’ (Mill Hill), arā, ngā pirihi o te rōpū mihinare o Hato Hōhepa, me te ako i ngā tamariki o te kāinga ki ngā akoranga o te whakapono. He mea tuku whakawhirinaki tonu atu e Tamakaitoa a Wiremu mā Te Wātihana e tiaki. Nā runga i te kaha o Te Wātihana rātou ko ngā pirihi Puke Mira, i tae ai a Wiremu ki Hato Pētera (St Peter’s Māori College), i Te Ōnewa (Northcote), wāhi o Tāmaki-makau-rau (Auckland), kura ai i ngā tau 1931 ki 1932. Kua noho kē nei hoki a Te Wātihana i Tāmaki-makau-rau, ka riro nei nāna i tohutohu a Wiremu kia tino tohunga ia ki te reo Pākehā. Ka tīmata te whāwhā a Te Āwhitu i ngā mahi toi a te iwi Māori, ā, i te mutunga mai kua tino tohunga kē nei ia ki te whakairo, tohunga pūkenga atu hoki.

Riro ana nā Te Wātihana rātou ko ngā pirihi Puke Mira i atawhai te whakaaro o Te Āwhitu kia noho ia hei pirihi. Ka tae ia ki Hato Patariki (St Patrick’s College) i Kahukura (Silverstream), i reira tīmata ai i te wāhanga mātauranga tuatahi i mua i tana urunga atu ki te kura pirihi. I a ia i Hato Patariki, ka puta ia hei toa ki te purei whutupaoro, whakataetae hoki, ā, whakawhiwhia ana hoki ia ki te tohu mō te tauira Māori tino pai. I a ia i konei, ka tūpono ia ki a Pā J. J. Riordan, nō te rōpū mahi o te mīhana Katorika Māori o te rōpū o Maria (Marist Māori Mission), ka nui kē nei tana mahi ki te āwhina i a Wiremu i taua wā me te wā anō hoki o muri mai.

Nō te tau 1936 i uru atu ai a Te Āwhitu ki te kura pirihi o Hato Maria (Mount St Mary’s) i Puketapu (Greenmeadows) ako ai. Taka rawa ki te marama o Pēpuere o te tau 1938, i Highden, he mea tuku mai e ia ana oati wā poto, ā, nō Maehe o te tau 1941, i whakatapua ia hei rīkona. Nō te tau 1942 i mahi ia i te taha o ngā mihinare o te rōpū o Maria e hāpai nei i te iwi Māori o te awa o Whanganui, tae atu hoki ki Taranaki. Nō te tau 1943, ka hoki anō ia ki Puketapu kuraina ai. I whakatapua ia hei pirihi ki te Whare Karakia o Hato Patariki i Ahuriri (Napier), i te 17 o Tīhema o te tau 1944; aoake i te rā i muri mai, ka whakahaerea e ia tana miha tuatahi i te Whare Karakia o te Whakaira Pokekore (Immaculate Conception) i Pakipaki.

I pau i a Te Āwhitu ngā tau atu i 1945 ki 1946 ki Ōtaki, ā, tekau mā tahi ngā tau i Papakura (Meeanee) me Pakipaki ki Te Matau-a-Māui (Hawke’s Bay). He mema ia nō te mīhana Māori o Te Matau-a-Māui, ā, ko tōna rohe e haere atu rā i Te Wairoa ki Tanewaka (Dannevirke). Nō tōna pāngia e te ikura roro i te tau 1958, kua kore ia e kaha ki te kōrero. I pau i a ia te wā e whakamātūtū ana i te mate i te kāreti o Hato Pāora i Aorangi (Feilding), ā, ka ora ake nei ia i te tau 1966, ka hoki anō ki tana mahi pirihi. He wā poto i pau i a ia e noho ana i Waitara me Matariki (Normanby) i Taranaki. I te tau 1968, i te whakatūnga o Hēmi (James K. Baxter) i tana ohu ki te kāinga i Hiruhārama (Jerusalem) i te awa o Whanganui, kua tae kē atu a Wiremu ki reira noho ai. Otirā ko Wiremu tonu tētehi o ngā kaitohutohu i te taha wairua ki te kaitito nei, ā, nō te whakahaerenga i te miha tūpāpaku mō Hēmi i te tau 1972, nā Wiremu i hautū ngā pirihi.

He mea tuku mai a Wiremu Te Āwhitu i tana mahi pirihi i te tau 1989, ka haere ki Ōkahukura noho ai. I mau haere tonu te whakapono o Wiremu ki te mahi pirihi me ōna āhuatanga katoa; ina koa rā te inoi, te pukumahi, te aroha nui ki a Hato Maria Takakau, me tana paihere ake i a ia ki tōna iwi. He tangata ngākau mahaki, he atawhai, he menemene whakatau i te tangata, me te puta mai o te wairua i te tangata i tana noho pai ki tōna Atua me te ao. I a ia e whakatā ana, he mea hāpai e ia te mahi whakatū i te marae o Whānau Maria i Ōkahukura.

I mate a Wiremu Te Āwhitu ki te hōhipera o Waikato i te 29 o Hūrae i te tau 1994. I tangihia ia ki te marae o Ngāpūwaiwaha i Taumarunui; i whakahaerea he miha mōna ki reira ki te Whare Karakia o te Whakaira Pokekore. Kei te urupā o tōna whānau ia e tāpuke ana kei Ōkahukura, kei ngā pareparenga o te awa o Ōngarue.


Hononga, rauemi nō waho

Ētahi whakaaro puaki, takenga

    Duggan, E. ‘Fruit from Pompallier’s tree’. New Zealand Tablet. 13 Dec. 1944: 16, 25

    Obit. Evening Post. 4 Aug. 1994: 5

    Obit. Marist Messenger 65, No 10 (Nov. 1994): 16–22


Me pēnei te tohu i te whārangi:

Max T. Mariu. 'Te Āwhitu, Wiremu Hākopa Toa', Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, first published in 2000. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, https://teara.govt.nz/mi/biographies/5t6/te-awhitu-wiremu-hakopa-toa (accessed 12 November 2019)