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FULL NAME: William Hikitangaarangi Smith.

DATE OF BIRTH: October 22,1906


The following interview with William Smith (fondly known to us all as Uncle Bill), took place in the comfort of his Aramoho home in Whanganui. At the ripe old age of 95,his memory and wits are still as keen as ever and somehow, you knew you were in the presence of a true Maori Warden...........

I was born on October 22 1906 at Whangaehu Marae. My parents were Willy and Ruhi Smith (nee Hiroti). I was delivered by my Grandmother, Matewai Katarina TeHaupuke who came from Taranaki. It was from her that I was given the name of 'Hikitangaarangi'. It means, "Nursed by the Heavens".

I claim my Iwi as being Ngai Tahu (Stewart Island) and Ngati Apa.
When I was 22 years old, I got married. This was on March 5,1930,firstly at Matahiwi then later, we were married legally at Ratana. My wife's name was Tiriahiri.

I was nominated for Maori Warden at Jerusalem Marae in 1947.The process then, was to be nominated by the Marae. From there, I was sent to be interviewed by the Policeman in Raetihi. If that went all right, it then got sent away to the Minister of Native Affairs, if that went okay, you were then told that you were a Maori warden.

We didn't have warrants and epaulettes in those days, the only distinguishing feature of our status, was our Maori Warden badge. Uniforms didn't come until much later that was when we wore navy blue or dark trousers and black jackets. Our uniforms then, were very much like the Police. My jacket was one of the very first ones, the very first official Maori Warden jacket.

In my wardening days, we did a lot of nightime work. The troubles you have today, we had the same in our day but you have it on a bigger scale. I remember one time, a Maori fellow got into trouble and the Police wouldn't let him past, I showed the Policeman my badge and had no more trouble after that.

Another time, I nearly got taken on by some pakeha kids and four four Maori kids stuck up for me.
Public treatment of Maori Wardens depended on who you were. Wardens weren't readily accepted by ALL of our people, come to think of it, we weren't accepted much by the Police either. People in those days, were very wary of strangers.

I remember when Maori wardens first started, the only areas were Hawkes Bay and Taranaki. Here in Whanganui, we didn't have an office or regular meeting place, we would meet whereever we could. Police had nothing to do with Maori warden duties, but we had to fill out duty reports. There was a District Maori Council in the 1960s.

Non-Smoker, Social drinker, Member of the Whanganui Rugby Referees Association in 1956. He is of Irish descent on his Grandmothers side. He was made a life-member of the New Zealand Maori Wardens Association (inc) on June 2,1994.Date of last Maori Warden Re-Appointment. 25:3:1993 - 25:3:1996.

Uncle Bill concluded this interview with this final quote:

FULL NAME: Temoananui-A-Kiwa Ponga.

DATE OF BIRTH: 17 November 1936.


PLACE OF BIRTH: Raetihi Hospital situated 56 miles north
of Wanganui on the Parapara Road.

FATHERS NAME: Rangitautahi Ponga.

MOTHERS NAME: Rihi Parehenoa Parinihi.

CHILDREN: 10 boys, 3 girls, and 30 Whangai children.

Tangaroa to nga Maunga.

Temo spent much of his childhood growing up at Koroniti Marae. It was a hard life for many back then. There was very little time to play as most of it consisted of work, work and more work. There was always something that needed to be done such as cutting and carting wood or gardening, ploughing etc.

Temos' passion for working with Youth and being a keen hunter, has, over the years, been extremely beneficial both in his work as a Maori Warden and in recent years, while working with Youth groups at Tieke Hut.

When I was first approached to be a Maori warden, I remember being a bit iffy at first but, after hearing what it all entailed, I thought, "Well, I'll give it a go", so I joined up and really liked it. That was in the early 1950s.At that time, I remember Maori Wardens had nothing to do with anyone else, just Iwi. We also didn't have much to do with the Police. We had no say.

We had no standard form of training or a set training pattern. Most, but not all, of our work dealt with alcohol, underage Maori in Pubs and those being drunk and disorderly. Also, a lot of our work was looking after Maori families. We would travel to all the Pubs and check for any underage drinkers. Some were very difficult to remove. If we couldn't talk to them, or they wouldn't listen, we would have to get the Police to remove them.
I must say I was never biased with my own. I found that the most difficult job was when you had a Warden whose' family was in the Pub and that warden took exception to you kicking them. Yes, there were those who showed favoritism to their own, even in those days.

We did have times when it wasn't so bad. My most enjoyable time was going to visit families who were really in need. I was a hunter back then and also owned a garden, so used to take meat and veges to them. That's the part I liked the best. We had heaps of families like that. Some had no father and there were no opportunities for Solo parents like there is today.

Times were also hard for Maori wardens then. There was no Government funding available, we used our own cars to carry out our warden work. We actually paid ourselves to go to work. Our area was quite extensive. We traveled as far South as Whangaehu taking in Turakina and Mangamahu as well. (at that time, there was a Pub out there). Our District ended at Patea one way, and Raetihi to the North. We received no Koha at all, everything came out of our pockets.

As for uniforms, well, we didn't have a set uniform. Most wardens just wore their badge on their jerseys. I remember being the only one to wear a suit jacket and even bought a white shirt. We were supposed to acquire uniforms from the Police, but that never eventuated.

I ceased to become a warden in the mid 1960s because I felt that things weren't happening as they should. Warden were drinking and breaking the rules or changing them to suit themselves. It was a bit of a letdown.

QUESTION: What do you think of Pakehas joining the Wardens?

ANSWER: I have no gripes of Pakehas joining the Maori
Wardens. Some are very sensitive to the
Kaupapa. Very few Pakeha knew how to say
Tena Koe back then.

FINAL QUESTION: So Temo, where too from here?

ANSWER: My present lifestyle, is to give Conservation a
hard time.

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