THE BENNETT FAMILY
Frederick Augustus Bennett
Frederick Augustus Bennett was Marie Barcham's
grandfather. Frederick Augustus, born at Rotorua on 15 November 1872, was the son of Raiha Rangikawhiti Rogers (b. 1855, at Rotorua,
d. 22 April 1930 at Rotorua) and Thomas
Jackson Bennett (b. at Dublin on 20 October 1839). Thomas emigrated from County Cork, Ireland, and became the first Registrar
General in New Zealand. He died at Kohupatiki
on 20 October 1925.
Frederick went to St Steven’s Native
Boys’ School in Auckland. While still being educated he became a member of the
Young Maori Party, an association of professional men determined to improve the
health, literacy and technical progress of the Maori people. In 1928, he became
was the first Bishop of Aotearoa.
Frederick Augustus Bennett
married first wife Hannah Te Unuhi Mary Park
(b. 1879 at Motueka, near Nelson, d. 10 August 1909
at Rotorua). They had children, including: Frederick
Te Tiwha (Tiff) (b. 11 January 1906 at Rotorua),
married Marjorie Campbell, see link with the Bridgford
family. During World War II, he fought with the 28th Maori Battalion. Later, he
became a prominent lawyer in New Zealand.
Frederick’s second wife was Arihia Rangioue Hemana (b. 1 January 1890 at Taheke,
d. 15 January 1971, at Rotorua). They had a
large and distinguished family, including the following sons: John Mokonuiarangi (b. 4 September 1912, d. 28 October 1997,
at Hastings, buried at Havelock North) see below; Charles Moihi (b. 27 July 2003, d. 26 November 1998, at Tauranga) see below; Augustus Manuhuia
(b. 10 February 1916), see below; William Tireni (b.
3 May 1917, d. 20 December 1997, at Hastings); Henry Rongomau
(b. 3 October 1918, at Kohpatiki, d. 26 November
2000, at Okawa Bay, Rotoiti)
Frederick died at Kohupatiki,
Hawkes Bay District, on 16 September 1950. Arihia
died on 15 January 1971 at Rotorua.
Frederick Augustus Bennett had 18 children,
Some of those born to his second wife are described below.
born September 4, 1912, was the eldest son of Arihia
and Frederick. He married Moana Chadwick (b. September 4, 1914, d. April 19, 1975 at Hastings, buried at Havelock North).
They had six children, one of whom Joan May Rangioue
married Stewart Barcham (their family is described in chapter 6 of The
Barchams of Edingthorpe).
John was a schoolteacher at
various schools, including at Kaitaia in about 1939.
He helped to establish the kohanga reo movement and was chairman of the movement. He was
knighted for his services in education.
Charles Moihi, the second child of Arihia
and Frederick was born on 27 July 1913. During World War II, he became the youngest commander of the Maori
Battalion. His experiences overseas caused him to challenge the prevalent
pre-war myth that the Maori people that living close to the land was the best
way of preserving whanau and hapu life, and that in most areas farming offered
the best means of retaining traditional family and community links. Charles
received a knighthood and was a high commissioner to Malaysia and president of the [New Zealand] Labour Party Manuhuia Augustus
Manuhuia Augustus Bennett, the fourth son was born at Rotorua on 10 February 1916. He was raised on a rural pa
in the Hawkes Bay district, educated at Otaki Maori College, Te Aute
College and was a science graduate from Victoria University in Wellington. During World War II, he served
with the 28th Maori Battalion. He was a passionate yet conciliatory advocate
for the Maori people at the time they set out to challenge their role as
benign, second-class citizens in New Zealand. He was the Arawa
tribe's most respected elder; and a highly regarded figure throughout Maoridom.
Manu believed that education
held the key to Maori advancement. He served on an educational advisory
committee and was first president of the Association of Maori University
Graduates. He first considered a career in finance before opting for the
ministry. His first posting was to St. Steven's Church at Opotiki
in 1939. In the Second World War he was chaplain to the 28th Maori Battalion in
East and Italy.
After secondment to Hawaii in the mid 1950s, he became
vicar of St Faiths, on the waterfront at Rotorua. He
was appointed Bishop of Aotearoa in April 1968, at
the time when Maori radicalism and race relations were emerging issues, and held
that post until 1981.
As Bishop of Aotearoa,
he promoted the Maori language, education and culture, while urging Pakeha (New Zealanders of European descent) to cut
ties with England and forge a distinct New Zealand identity. From his Rotorua base he fostered employment opportunities for Maori
in tourism and encouraged inclusion of the language and culture in the city's
When radical Maori began to use Waitangi Day to highlight grievances over the treaty,
Bishop Bennett queried the appropriateness of the celebrations before moving to
help to resolve the growing discord. Changes made in 1981 to the format of the
celebrations, creating a less formal atmosphere, were welcomed by Bishop
Bennett. ‘The treaty has not served us well in the past’, he said. ‘If we have
a future that guarantees a better deal for Maori, there will be no protests.’
He served on the Waitangi Tribunal from 1986, and
continued to advise the tribunal after his warrant expired in 1997.
he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George; and in 1989,
he received New
honour, the Order of New Zealand, for services to his church and country. On
being awarded this honour, he said that his most useful work was as a prison
chaplain counselling young Maori and Polynesian offenders at Waikeria from 1964 to 1983.
Manuhuia married Kathleen Clarke.
He died at Rotorua on 20 December 2001, aged 85. New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Helen Clark
said that ‘Manu Bennett was admired in both the church and the wider community.
He was a man of great intelligence and wisdom, generosity and compassion.’
Henry Rongomau (b. 3 October 1918, at Kohpatiki,
d. 26 November 2000, at Okawa Bay, Rotoiti)
was the sixth child of Airhia and Frederick.
The urbanisation of Maoris had
social and cultural consequences. Henry became medical superintendent at Tokanui Psychiatric Hospital, Waikato Hospital's acute mental health facility
is named after him and he was knighted for his services.