Hart, P. (2016). Aihe Pepene. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 32), Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10341
Sharing the same illustrious whakapapa as his brother Reha Aperahama, Aihe Pepene was prominent when living in the Thames district before settling at Te Aroha in 1878. When speculators tried to acquire the Thames foreshore from Pepene and others in 1870, he became involved in the subsequent legal actions over unpaid promissory notes. Later he would acquire interests in many blocks of land, and received a steady income by leasing or selling these plus his share in the goldfields revenue. When the Aroha Block was considered by the land court for the last time, in 1878, he conducted the case for Ngati Rahiri. He invested in four Hauraki goldfields, and was briefly an owner and skipper of two small river steamers, an unsuccessful endeavour that resulted in his being forced to sell more land to meet his debts. Once his 1880 and 1881 financial difficulties were resolved, no more such problems recurred. A leading rangatira in Hauraki generally as well as at Te Aroha, he would be elected to a Maori Committee that was soon revealed to have no significance. Closely involved with Pakeha, he assisted settlement, and his loyalty to the Crown was illustrated by his becoming an officer in the Thames Native Volunteer Corps. A member of the Church of England for many years, like many Maori he became a Mormon, a faith perhaps more appropriate to his private life, for he had more than one wife, notoriously eloping with the wife of a more senior rangatira despite already being married.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart