Topic: Rawinia Street (DN 20/04/2013)

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Rawinia Street 

Rawinia Street comes from Rawinia Barrett, wife of well known Taranaki trader, whaler and adopted son of Te Ati Awa, Dicky Barrett.  Born in 1811, at Ngamotu, Rawinia was reputed to be among the most talented and beautiful Maori woman of the time. The daughter of Ngati Te Whiti Chief, Eruera Te Puke ki Mahurangi, and Kurumai Te Ra, she had connections with several high-ranking Te Ati Awa, including Tautara a well known Te Ati Awa chief.    

Rawinia was also known as Wakaiwa Lavinia; Lavinia, being the anglicised version of her Maori name.  Similarly Dicky Barrett was given the name Tiki Parete by Te Ati Awa. 

Rawinia and another Ngati Te Whiti woman, Mereruru Te Hikanu, both eminent women in their hapu, were presented as brides to Dicky Barrett and his colleague John Love. The offer of marriage to such notable woman was indication of the willingness to strengthen the relationship between the two cultures.

Rawinia and Dicky were married first in 1828 and the marriage was solemnized again in 1841 by Wesleyan Missionary, Charles Creed.  Rawinia was likely to have been in her late teens and Dicky a young man in his early 20’s, when they first married.  The couple had two daughters, Hera (Sarah) and Kara (Caroline), a third daughter; Mary-Ann, died aged 8. The relationship brought benefits economically and politically for both Maori and Pakeha.

Rawinia died in 1849 after Dicky had died two years earlier in 1847.  They both died relatively young, but in their short lives they made a lasting impact on the history of New Plymouth and showed that a relationship between the two cultures could be beneficial to both.   They are buried at Waitapu Urupa near Bayly Road, along with their daughter Mary-Ann and Grand-Daughter, Hannah. In fact the graves are quite close to Rawinia Street itself in Moturoa.


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