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George Lipsey: a Pakeha Maori who married Ema Mokena, daughter of mokena hou, and some of their children

George Lipsey, an Irishman, went to the early Thames goldfield and became a publican. He soon acquired close links with Maori, notably with Ema Mokena, the younger daughter of Mokena Hou. After having two children, they married under Pakeha law just before the opening of the Te Aroha field, thereby ensuring that he was entitled to share in the goldfield’s revenue. From 1873 onwards he had been living at Te Aroha as a Pakeha Maori, erecting the first wooden house and the first Hot Springs Hotel. When gold was found, he encouraged Mokena Hou to open the field, and subsequently invested in the mines (as did Ema, to a much smaller extent). Ema and her two eldest children were granted land in a rapidly developing settlement, and the income received from leasing it enabled Lipsey to erect a substantial residence and to be a benefactor of the new settlement by donating land for churches and a school. A sympathetic landlord, he adjusted the rents to assist residents but opposed giving them the freehold because the land was held in trust for his two eldest children. Despite his steady income, his expenditure regularly exceeded it, and he ended up selling land, though not at first at Te Aroha. Initially opposed to his children selling their land, he came to accept this as being necessary, and spent years trying to obtain the highest prices possible from the government. A leading figure in the local community, he held several local government positions. Sociable, with a fondness for drink that was usually under control, he was especially enthusiastic about horse-racing. As the spokesman for Ngati Rahiri, he advised the latter and was an interpreter. All their children were educated, but some died tragically early deaths. After he died, the children sold their land because they needed money to develop their farms.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016). George Lipsey: a Pakeha Maori who married Ema Mokena, daughter of mokena hou, and some of their children. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 40), Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart

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