Interview with Sir James Hēnare

Rights Information
Year
1981
Reference
44813
Media type
Audio
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Rights Information
Year
1981
Reference
44813
Media type
Audio
Duration
00:30:00
Taonga Māori Collection
Yes
Credits
RNZ Collection
Henare, James Clendon Tau (b.1911, d.1989), Speaker/Kaikōrero

[Interview in te reo Māori] Purewa Biddle speaks with Sir James Hēnare about his life. He speaks affectionately about his kuia and koroua that brought him up, that he was the youngest of his family, it seemed that he was destined for great things amongst his people.

He was taught by his grandmother to waiata, his grandfather was pakeha and rather hopeless at singing.His great grandmother was a wonderful singer. In growing up he never ventured out to play, he sat at the feet of his kuia and koroua and listened and learnt from them until he was ten years old.

Sir James was brought up in a nikau whare they lived in the bush, his father was a forestry worker. They lived close to a stream where they bathed and caught eels.He was ten years old when he started school and walked four miles to school barefooted. They were not allowed to speak Māori at school and if caught were whipped by the headmaster. They lived off the land and the river.

At the age of ten he was sent to Motatau native school, then to Sacred Heart Catholic College in Auckland for five years, he went on to Massey University, finishing up at Linton and recieving a dipolma for farming and dairying. He joined the 28 Māori Battalion, and returned home after the war.

He married and raised a family while farming, got involved on many Boards; the NZ Geographic Board, Māori Affairs, Council for the RSA, Waitangi Tribunal and many others. He was also on the Advisory Committee for Māori education and a member of the Māori Anglican Synod.

He was asked twice by the Goverment to be High Commisioner for New Zealand, first to Indonesia then to India. He turned down both requests, as he felt that it was more important to be home helping his people rather than being overseas.