It is said by whanau that Joseph Phillips arrived in New Zealand during the early 1800's and that he lived with, and was adopted by, a local Maori family, changing his name to Hohepa Kopiri. He lived as a Pakeha-Maori and is mentioned in the book The Taranaki wars, during the battle against Tainui, in 1832.
Land court records show Hohepa Kopiri as belonging to the Ngati Puketapu and Ngati Tuaho hapu of the Te Ati Awa iwi. He was possibly whangai to Rangiripoa whose parents were Koa and Te Ikahore. Joseph Phillips may have been one of the 11 European traders and whalers who helped defend Otaka Pa in February 1832. Hohepa Kopiri married Mere Moko (Mere Rii, Mere Ngahuia) who belonged to Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa.
Hohepa Kopiri had four children: Hemi Ngauru, who died 9 February 1878, Tare Ruka Hohepa, who died 12 August 1898, Enoka Hohepa Taitea (1842 - 16 August 1900, who was born at Parororangi, Wellington), and Raima Hohepa (Raima Hone) (1847? - 31 December 1907). Neither Hemi nor Raima had children of their own but Raima adopted Enoka's son Hemi Enoka Taitea and he lived with his aunt for about 30 years.
Tare Ruka who married Wikitoria Te Hunahuna left 10 children to succeed him. They were Whareiti Ruka born 19.7.1874, Tamati Ruka born 26.1.1877, Enoka Taitea Ruka Hohepa born 12.12.1879, Hematini Ruka Hohepa born 17.9.1880, Hone Ruka Hohepa born 12.12.1882, Miriama Ruka Hohepa born 26.5.1885, Meri Ruka Hohepa born 25.7.1886, Hopa Ruka Hohepa born 14.6.1890, Hohepa Ruka born 14.5.1892 and Tare Ruka Tamati Hohepa born 3.2.1897. Enoka, whose wife was called Hematini Enoka (Hematini Putiki), had one son Hemi and one daughter Ani Enoka (Ani Love).
At least three of Hohepa Kopiri's sisters came to live at Port Nicholson. They were Heremaia Te Awhi (Heremaia Paora) and Mihi Korama Te Rapa who died about 1868 at Petone. Mihi married Te Rei Pukekura (Te Rehe died in the 1850s), who went to Arapawa Island with Parata Nuku. Te Rei was the brother of Haneta Toea. Hatarete Pokai (Atarete) who died on 28 June 1884 at Waikanae was another sister. She was the wife of Ngake.
Hohepa Kopiri migrated from Taranaki with Ngati Hamua and went to live in the Arapawa until 1837. He then returned to live at Petone and Pipitea with the Te Matehou after Moturoa came back from Wairarapa. Hohepa Kopiri signed the Treaty in Port Nicholson in April 1840. Hohepa Kopiri was closely related to Neta Toea. So his surviving children inherited an interest in a share of her land holdings at Waikawa in the Marlborough Sounds together with Hematini Enoka and the Heberleys through Mata Te Naihi. Hohepa Kopiri also had rights in the Araheke M block in Taranaki.
In 1867 when the ownership of the sections in the survey of Pipitea Pa were recorded, four of Hohepa Kopiri's children and two of his sisters claimed section number 5. They were Hemi Ngauru, Tare Ruka, Enoka Taitea, Raima Hohepa and his sisters Atarete Pokai, and Mihi Te Rapa, who died about 1868 at Petone. Atareta Pokai and Mihi Te Rapa left no children.
Section no.4 was awarded to Meri Pawa, the widow of Parata Nuku, and her descendents. Meri Pawa was a cousin of Hohepa Kopiri. Parata Nuku had originally been given the land by Hohepa because Hare Parata's sister was living with Hemi Ngauru for a period.
When Tare Ruka Hohepa died his land interests included Awaroa, and Tauparaha no 2 in the Wairarapa, Araheke M in Taranaki, and Wiremutaone, Orongorongo B and Orangi Kaupapa 13 in the Port Nicholson Block.
Hohepa Kopiri died before 1867.
WMB no.1 p.47-48, 129, 168, 170
WMB no.10 p.1A, 2-3, 3-5 List of Tare Ruka's children
WMB no.14 p.279
WMB no.16A p.119-121
WMB no.16 p.90-98, 99-104
Taranaki MB no.3, 343
Wairarapa MB no.1 p.15, 22-34, 36-41, 47-48 Nelson MB no.1 p.149 whakapapa
E-mail J. Stratton 4.4.05