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) see below.

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.


John Mokonuiarangi Bennett

John, 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 Bennett
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 Bennett

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 the Middle 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 entertainment industry.

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.

In 1981, he was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George; and in 1989, he received New Zealand’s highest 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 Bennett

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.