Rewi Mokena: youngest son of Mokena Hou
Hart, P. (2016). Rewi Mokena: youngest son of Mokena Hou. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 39), Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10348.1
The youngest child of Mokena Hou, Rewi Mokena moved from place to place when young, finally settling permanently at Te Aroha. Having received some education, he was fluent in English. Like the typical rangatira of the time, he acquired interests in several blocks of land, obtained income from these in the short term, but because of financial difficulties was brought before the court several times. His involvement in gold mining started in a small way in 1875. Five years later, he would assist Hone Werahiko to prospect Te Aroha – and to fend off inquisitive Pakeha. He invested in claims in all of the three areas where gold was found. By the twentieth century, Rewi was the most important rangatira at Te Aroha, and had wider influence, assisting the King Movement to seek redress for lost land. From a young age he participated in Pakeha society, notably as a rugby player, and became a prominent Mormon. His complicated private life, including bigamy and a wife’s attempted suicide because of his adultery, did not lower his high standing in Maori society nor damage his popularity with Pakeha.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart
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