Thursday, June 30, 2022
   
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TEKAHUPEKAKO

 
I am after some help in trying to locate descendants of the Maori family who gave my mother a Maori name.  She was born 31 Jan 1907 at Halcombe and on her birth certificate was recorded  her full name of Christine Ethel Tekahupekako WADE-COOPER.
 
Her parents Charles Hamilton Wade- Cooper and Rita Violet Alice Fanny Wade-Cooper (nee Hambling) had a farm at Rewa at the time.
 
There is an interesting story as to how she was named and fortunately my grandmother relates the event in her memoirs. This is the extract:
 
“It was at this time my second daughter Christine Ethel Tekahupekake was born on 31st January 1907.  Tekahupekake is Maori for ‘Clothes of the Peacock’.  When the Maori woman bearing this name died her husband, who knew Charlie well, begged that we would call the new baby by his wife’s name.  This we did.
 
I had been to the tanghi for Tekahupekake Wildman.  A tanghi or feast is held after the burial.  The richer the husband or wife was the more elaborate the ‘tanghi’.
Tekahupekake’s tanghi lasted three days of feasting on roast beef, pork, mutton, roast potatoes and pumpkin all cooked in Maori ovens and was attended by all the Maoris in the district.  Custom decreed that the men went into the Pah first to eat; then it was the women’s turn.  I had gone to the tanghi with a half caste Maori girl neighbour.  There was a sprinkling of other white women there.”
 
I am not sure whether my grandmother’s interpretation of “Tekahupekako” is accurate but from my google research of Maori words the nearest I could find to “Tekahu” was “Kakahu” meaning cloak and for “Pekako” was “Pukeko” a type of NZ bird.  It appears that the Pukeko bird has bright blue feathers which were prized for Maori cloaks. This appears to be close to her interpretation.
 
My grandparents, Charles and Rita Wade-Cooper came from England and arrived in New  Zealand about 1898 . Their farm was located at 436 Rangitikei Valley Road, Rewa.  After spending an adventurous time in New Zealand which included earthquakes and losing a home to fire they moved to Australia about 1911.
 
My wife and I are planning to visit NZ and we want to see the area where my mother lived and we would love to meet with any descendants of Tekahupekako Wildman’s family.  Of course, this will have to be when the pandemic travel restrictions are lifted.
 
We would greatly appreciate any help in locating any descendants and can be contacted by email:
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Doug and Gwynne DEAN
Sunshine Coast
Australia