Hone Tuwhare, 1922-2008 – Nga Puhi iwi; hapu Ngati Korokoro, Ngati Tautahi, Te Popoto and Te Uri-O-Hau
Hone Tuwhare is the people’s poet – he was loved and cherished by New Zealanders from all walks of life. Touring tirelessly, Hone shared his talent and inspired audiences in every corner of the country from primary and secondary schools to universities, factories to art galleries and prisons. As he travelled, Hone encouraged others to write, express themselves, create and celebrate life.
Born in 1922 in the small settlement of Kokewai, just south of Kaikohe, Hone spent much of his childhood in Auckland with his father Ben, following the passing of his mother Mihipaea when he was five. Ben was a builder and in those years work proved difficult to find, which meant an itinerant life with many different lodgings.
As a teenager, Hone started work at the Otahuhu railway yards. He became a qualified boilermaker and through his trade, a member of the trade union movement and the Communist Party. He remained passionate about human rights for the rest of his life. He was particularly active in the 1970s when, among other things, he was an organiser of the first Maori Writers and Artists hui at Te Kaha and walked in the Maori Land March in 1975. Although he was too young to fight in Europe in World War II, Hone served in Japan as part of the post-war occupation force. This was a thought provoking year, based on unique circumstances, including the aftermath of the 2 nuclear bombs.
Hone died in 2008 – he had been a resident at Kaka Point in the Catlins – living in a seaside crib.
Hone Tuwhare is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s most accomplished and treasured poets. The Hone Tuwhare Charitable Trust was established to purchase and restore Hone Tuwhare’s crib, develop resources for schools and initiate events throughout Aotearoa that celebrate Hone and his contribution to the Arts.
Takutai became involved with the HTCT through the purchase of the crib.