New Zealand Listener

Portrait of the artist as a young man

The story the Hotere whānau tell of their parents’ meeting is like pages from a romance. There was a girl from Kaihu called Ana Maria Taniere, who was pretty and hardworking and kind and left school when she was 12. Her Ngāti Whātua family was strict and expected a lot of her. Her father was a katekita, a lay person in a Catholic parish who would lead prayers and instruct in the faith, as the priest visited the small remote church perhaps once a month. He would live to be 100 years old.

His daughter was washing clothes in a creek when a handsome young man from Te Kao, five years older than her, who was Te Aupāuri as well as affiliated with Ngāti Kahu and Ngāpuhi, rode by and talked with her. He hoisted her up on his horse, and they at once were in love.

Ana was 15, and Tangirau Hotere 20 when they married at St Agnes Church in Te Kao in 1918. The marriage certificate recorded the bride’s occupation as “domestic duties”, her husband’s as “labourer”. At first, they went off digging kauri gum together. When they decided to settle at Mitimiti, which was Te Rarawa country, it was because

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