Dr Hiko Hohepa
A man of learning and humility
Ngāti Te Roro-o-te-Rangi
Te Hiko-o-te-Rangi Hohepa was a highly respected Te Arawa kaumātua. He was well known for being extremely knowledgeable about genealogy and the practices and histories of marae. Perhaps even more importantly, he was known for his gentle, peace-making nature and for being very humble.
He inspired and supported many people in their quest to learn about Māori history. Former student Lynn Gillespie remembers him being ‘a wonderful Te Arawa historian and storyteller extraordinaire’.
As a kaumatua for Waiariki Institute of Technology, Dr Hohepa worked with the Chief Executive at the time, Arapeta Tahana, to plan and have built Tangatarua Marae on the Institute’s Mokoia campus.
Dr Hohepa was involved in presenting claims to the Waitangi tribunal on behalf of a number of hapū. As an accomplished cultural advisor and scholar, he was often called upon to give his knowledge on matters of protocol, some of which were quite controversial.
On one occasion, three women asked for the right to speak at an important meeting at Tamatekapua, Te Papaīōuru Marae on behalf of their iwi. Although women do not usually take a speaking role, Dr Hohepa believed that a term called ‘Te Haukokori’ once existed which described a long forgotten practice of Te Arawa women speaking on the marae. Before the meeting, Dr Hohepa went to different leaders asking that the women be allowed to speak. Although on the day, some people protested the decision, the women did go on to speak there.
Despite the fact that everyone may not have agreed with him, Dr Hohepa’s dedication to learning and service to others meant that his point of view was always respected.
Qualities: humility, scholarship
More to read:
From Rotorua Library:
Te Pātaka Kōrero ā Te Hiko-o-te-rangi Hohepa: a collection of transcripts and excerpts from Te Hiko-o-te-rangi Hohepa
on Māori origins, histories, tribal marae, practices and the relevance of traditional Māori precepts in today’s society
(Te Kapua Hohepa-Watene)
Whaikorero: The World of Maori Oratory (Poia Rewi)
More to listen to:
Hear Dr Hohepa talking about the meaning and history of the name Te Arawa in te Reo Māori:
This entry is related to these other entries:
Te Papa Takaro o Te Arawa; Wihapi Winiata: The man who gave his heart to the four winds