Big man from long line of warriors

Obituary: Chris Haenga.

Obituary: Chris Haenga.

Chris Haenga.
Chris Haenga
Chris Haenga - 1998

Chris Lima Haenga, a 63-year-old East Coast farmer described as a rangatira and an icon of his time, passed away at Waikato Hospital after a short illness last month.

He was known as the surrogate Mayor of Tikitiki because of his popularity and leadership skills.

Chris always stood out because of his towering height and fair colouring (taking after his mother’s Scottish/English heritage), which made him a minority in his community.

When he was younger, older boys saw him as a challenge and wanted to fight the tall, gentle giant. Chris soon learned to strongly defend himself and could hold them up with just one hand, but often chose not to fight.

Chris was a physically strong and a hard worker, providing for his family and others.

He had lots of whakatauaki (sayings) and he was always welcoming of everybody. He was jovial, kind, likeable, enjoyed people and was loving to animals. He had a great sense of humour, and told wicked jokes with twinkling eyes.

Chris lived in Tikitiki all his life and took a keen interest in many community activities. On several occasions he was involved in local politics, and was never afraid to express his strong views.

He opposed forestry taking over good farming land, and made it known.

Chris and Lou Tangaere were the first two farmers on the East Coast to provide land with manuka trees for commercial bee hives, which he believed was a worthy kaupapa.

As a Ngati Porou leader, Chris promoted the value and ownership of Maori lands and seabed on the East Coast and fought for their protection by appearing at local hui, and being interviewed by media on several local issues.

Born in Waipiro Bay, he was the eldest of nine children of Margaret Rose Malcolm and Kaitu (Kite) Haenga, (Ngati Porou, of the Manuel Jose and Manuel Lima whanau).

He recently found out he had close ancestry to Princess Diana’s (the Princess of Wales') mother Frances Shand, linking them both to the Littlejohn family of two brothers. One daughter married into the Malcolm family line.

Chris came from a long line of warriors and great sea navigators from his Ngati Porou heritage. His paternal great, great-grandfather was Chief Arapeta Te Haenga who fought alongside the British against the Hau Hau in the Maori wars on the East Cape in 1865. Another was the paramount Chief Paora Whakatihi, hailed by Sir Apirana Ngata as one of the greatest Ngati Porou chiefs of all times.

His other paternal ancestry link was to the Spanish trader Manuel Jose (1811-1873), head of the now 30,000-plus Paniora family group.

Chris also took his name from his great grandfather Manuel Lima, a gaucho (horseman)born in Rio Grande de Sul in southern Brazil, who came to Aotearoa as a whaler.

His late father was a successful drover and later a cattle and sheep farmer. He ran Tauwharerata Station and Pohuturangi Station, and also worked on his father Te Auiti Haenga’s estate Te Uapata Station in the Poroporo Valley.

These three stations were later passed on to Chris to manage in the late 1970s.

Tauwharerata Station was the main farm, where Chris was raised with his eight brothers and sisters. They were all taught through correspondence.

Tauwharerata was reached through Te Hue Road 23km from Tikitiki and 3km up the Maraehara River, which would frequently flood. At two-years-old Chris had to learn how to ride a horse over all sorts of rough terrain, including heavily-flooded waters.

From five-years-old he was the constant working companion of his father — mustering sheep, ploughing fields, wood cutting and collecting driftwood (his home did not have electricity or hot running water).

By age 10 he was breaking in wild horses, shoeing them, and teaching them to lie down, so he could climb on their back without having a saddle.

Chris kept his deep love of horses and continued to break and train them until near the end of his life.

By the age of 12 he was driving the family Landrover and truck as part of his work. By 14, Chris had built up a team of working dogs and horses and was working as a shepherd for local farmers on big stations.

Chris learned to speak te reo fluently by listening to his father and uncles.

He conversed with his elders in te reo, who thought highly of him and passed on valuable knowledge and skills regarding tikanga and the whenua of the East Cape region.

In the 1970s one of Chris’s uncles, a Ngati Porou elder and tohunga, transferred his whenua title and gifts to the young Chris, acknowledging his leadership skills and aroha for his people.

Chris is survived by his six children: Chris (Gisborne), Priscilla Foot (Huntly), Brendon (Gisborne), Maryrose Haenga (Huntly), Yvonne Ashby (Huntly), Sydina Haenga (Palmerston North), their mother Kathleen Tibble, and eight mokopuna. Chris is also survived by four brothers: Fraser, Kite, Hildaren and Johnny, of Tiki Tiki, and four sisters: Maria Viseur (Upper Hutt), Pam Keil (Samoa), Anne Haenga and Bernice Haenga-Melvin (both of Wellington).

Chris Lima Haenga, a 63-year-old East Coast farmer described as a rangatira and an icon of his time, passed away at Waikato Hospital after a short illness last month.

He was known as the surrogate Mayor of Tikitiki because of his popularity and leadership skills.

Chris always stood out because of his towering height and fair colouring (taking after his mother’s Scottish/English heritage), which made him a minority in his community.

When he was younger, older boys saw him as a challenge and wanted to fight the tall, gentle giant. Chris soon learned to strongly defend himself and could hold them up with just one hand, but often chose not to fight.

Chris was a physically strong and a hard worker, providing for his family and others.

He had lots of whakatauaki (sayings) and he was always welcoming of everybody. He was jovial, kind, likeable, enjoyed people and was loving to animals. He had a great sense of humour, and told wicked jokes with twinkling eyes.

Chris lived in Tikitiki all his life and took a keen interest in many community activities. On several occasions he was involved in local politics, and was never afraid to express his strong views.

He opposed forestry taking over good farming land, and made it known.

Chris and Lou Tangaere were the first two farmers on the East Coast to provide land with manuka trees for commercial bee hives, which he believed was a worthy kaupapa.

As a Ngati Porou leader, Chris promoted the value and ownership of Maori lands and seabed on the East Coast and fought for their protection by appearing at local hui, and being interviewed by media on several local issues.

Born in Waipiro Bay, he was the eldest of nine children of Margaret Rose Malcolm and Kaitu (Kite) Haenga, (Ngati Porou, of the Manuel Jose and Manuel Lima whanau).

He recently found out he had close ancestry to Princess Diana’s (the Princess of Wales') mother Frances Shand, linking them both to the Littlejohn family of two brothers. One daughter married into the Malcolm family line.

Chris came from a long line of warriors and great sea navigators from his Ngati Porou heritage. His paternal great, great-grandfather was Chief Arapeta Te Haenga who fought alongside the British against the Hau Hau in the Maori wars on the East Cape in 1865. Another was the paramount Chief Paora Whakatihi, hailed by Sir Apirana Ngata as one of the greatest Ngati Porou chiefs of all times.

His other paternal ancestry link was to the Spanish trader Manuel Jose (1811-1873), head of the now 30,000-plus Paniora family group.

Chris also took his name from his great grandfather Manuel Lima, a gaucho (horseman)born in Rio Grande de Sul in southern Brazil, who came to Aotearoa as a whaler.

His late father was a successful drover and later a cattle and sheep farmer. He ran Tauwharerata Station and Pohuturangi Station, and also worked on his father Te Auiti Haenga’s estate Te Uapata Station in the Poroporo Valley.

These three stations were later passed on to Chris to manage in the late 1970s.

Tauwharerata Station was the main farm, where Chris was raised with his eight brothers and sisters. They were all taught through correspondence.

Tauwharerata was reached through Te Hue Road 23km from Tikitiki and 3km up the Maraehara River, which would frequently flood. At two-years-old Chris had to learn how to ride a horse over all sorts of rough terrain, including heavily-flooded waters.

From five-years-old he was the constant working companion of his father — mustering sheep, ploughing fields, wood cutting and collecting driftwood (his home did not have electricity or hot running water).

By age 10 he was breaking in wild horses, shoeing them, and teaching them to lie down, so he could climb on their back without having a saddle.

Chris kept his deep love of horses and continued to break and train them until near the end of his life.

By the age of 12 he was driving the family Landrover and truck as part of his work. By 14, Chris had built up a team of working dogs and horses and was working as a shepherd for local farmers on big stations.

Chris learned to speak te reo fluently by listening to his father and uncles.

He conversed with his elders in te reo, who thought highly of him and passed on valuable knowledge and skills regarding tikanga and the whenua of the East Cape region.

In the 1970s one of Chris’s uncles, a Ngati Porou elder and tohunga, transferred his whenua title and gifts to the young Chris, acknowledging his leadership skills and aroha for his people.

Chris is survived by his six children: Chris (Gisborne), Priscilla Foot (Huntly), Brendon (Gisborne), Maryrose Haenga (Huntly), Yvonne Ashby (Huntly), Sydina Haenga (Palmerston North), their mother Kathleen Tibble, and eight mokopuna. Chris is also survived by four brothers: Fraser, Kite, Hildaren and Johnny, of Tiki Tiki, and four sisters: Maria Viseur (Upper Hutt), Pam Keil (Samoa), Anne Haenga and Bernice Haenga-Melvin (both of Wellington).

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Margery Rangi, Gold Coast - 5 months ago
One very Hearty Ngati! What a pleasure to read all you had accomplished in life my cousin. Fond memories of you all coming to Aunty Pammie's when I was younger. The mean feeds we would make and korero that was had. A totara indeed in my eyes . . . with mana Rangatira. Fly high Cuz. Gone but never forgotten xox

Aroha Tiopira - 3 months ago
Mean alright papa, hope you ain't using those walking sticks no more. And papa, I know I am not your moko by blood, I always told you that, and you used to tell me kid you're mine, you're mine and your nanny's moko. You knew how to put a smile on a little girl's face when she was down. Yes, you di. You're my papa, I don't care what others say to me or about me. Uncle Chris told me if anyone don't like the fact I'm still gonna go home to Tikitiki, then they have to talk to him . . . but papa, all I really wanna say is that I love you and I'll always love and cherish you. If I had a wish I'd wish to talk to you, to lay in your arms once more and sit on your lap. I'll see you when I come papa. 18 years of loving you xx