Maori Women in the 19th Century - SOS
Updated: 6/5/2020
Maori Women in the 19th Century - SOS
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  • Niniwa-i-te-rangi, or Niniwa Heremaia was born in Oroi, April 6th 1854. She was the eldest surviving daughter Ngapuruki, the leading chief of Ngati Hikawera of Ngati Kahungunu. Her mother was one of his three wives.
  • Niniwa had asked Hikawera, her cousin and Judge Alexander Mackay to set aside 500 acres for her at Kehemane. She co-ordinated a protest against Hikawera's subdivision of land after they refused. After the rehearing, she was awarded a 25 acre share of Uwhiroa, and was included among the many owners of a reserve in at Kehemane and recieved a 1000 acre share of Nga-waka-a-kupe.
  • Tamahau continued to expand the role of Papawai as a political centre, turnign to Niniwa for help. On Christmas the same year he successfully proposed the setting up of women's communities in Wairarapa. Niniwa was a member of the first of these communities, Hinehaoure.
  • Niniwa set up and was one of the two treasurers of a commitee to support the Maori Language newspapers, Te Puke ki Hikurangi and Te Tiupiri. Her husband Kawana Ropiha was chairman and her mother was a member. Niniwa was the editor for women's affairs and also decided which items from English/Foreign language news should be translated and included in their newspapers.
  • Newspaper
  • .During the late 1890s, Niniwa-i-te-rangi carved out a unique position for herself. She was seen as a leader of Maori affairs alongside such figures as Wi Pere, Henare Tomoana, Paratene Ngataand Tureiti Te Heuheu Tukino. She was the only woman whoseviews were sought when the Native Affairs Committee inquired into the Native Lands Settlement and Administration Bill of 1898.
  • Around the start of the 1900's, Niniwa married Tamaihotua Aporo after the death of her previous husband. Niniwa did not give birth to any children, although she did adopt her husband's daughter and a number of other children at birth. Niniwa died of heart failure in Greytown, 23rd March 1929, and she was buried at Hikawera.
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