Delamere, Paora Kingi

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Delamere was born to Te Kohi Edward Delamere and Arihia Ngarori Nikorima, both descended from important Te Whakatohea families, the sixth of their seven children. He was given to chief Paora Kingi Maraenui as a tamaiti whangai and raised at Waiorore.

Chief Maraenui intended that Delamere should be his heir, but his will was not witnessed and judged invalid. After the chief died Delamere was raised by other relatives. In 1905 he left home to become an agricultural worker, boat builder and coastal shipping trader. He was also a famous rugby player.

After several years in the South Island, during which he married, the family moved to Whitianga in the North Island. Delamere continued to work with boats, as a repairer and engineer, and also farmed, and was an important leader in district sports. When his birth father was nearing death, Paora was appointed to succeed him as leader of the Ringatu church (a syncretic Maori denomination of the Christian religion) in the district, which his father had introduced there, after converting in the 1870s. What was intended as a temporary appointment in 1938 as head of the entire Ringatu church, became a life tenure: 43 years.

Together with his daughter, Te Aomuhurangi Te Maka, he wrote and published the first Ringatu text, Te Pukapuka o nga Kawenata e Waru a te Atua me nga Karakia Katoa a te Haahi Ringatu (1968).

References

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Also available at: http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/dnzb/

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