Category Archives: Uncategorized

Edmund and Catherine Honeyfield

Updated 25 November 2019

Edmund Morgan Honeyfield was born at Gillingham, Dorset in 1841 and was the 10th child of John and Hannah.

Edmund was considered a delicate child and the family thought the New Zealand climate would be beneficial. His brother Henry John returned to England in 1855 to marry Eliza Read. Edmund aged 15, travelled with them to New Zealand on the Ashmore in 1856.

In 1877 Edmund married Catherine Gane from Mells, Somerset. She had means of her own. They farmed at Whenuakura near Patea in South Taranaki. They called their house Park Farm.

Edmund’s cousin John Morgan in his writings mentioned visits to Park Farm in 1895:  “Thursday I was at Park Farm, stayed the night, after breakfast I took a walk on the farm, it looks grand, but grass is very short, about all day at the farm.  ……Friday Cecil Honeyfield started for Wanganui, he promised to visit Newtonlees and to stay a few days helping if required.  ……Saturday I found Mrs Honeyfield fully engaged in the baking establishment, there I found a capital old fashioned brick oven all aglow, various dishes and dough worked into loaves, confectionery all ready for the oven.”

Edmund and Catherine had 11 children who became known as the Patea Honeyfields:

  1. Cecil Reginald, born 1878, died 1958. Married Katherine Wright. They farmed at Park Farm, Whenuakura until 1948 when they retired to Patea.
  2. Clara Isabel, born 1879, died 1968. Did not marry.
  3. Lena Eveline, born 1881, died 1967. Married Harry Bradmore.
  4. Leonard, born 1882, died from a farming accident in 1940. Married Elsie Finch and farmed at Patea. In 1918 Leo served overseas in World War 1 in the 30th reinforcements of the Wellington Mounted Rifles. Leo and Elsie had two sons, Ray and Geoff.
  5. Edith Mildred, born 1883. died 1970. (Edith) Mildred went to England in the 1920s. Later she married Ernest Morris at Buckhorn Weston Church, 1925. She lived in England until after the Second World War when she returned to New Zealand.
  6. Irene Katherine, born 1885, died 1947. Married Stewart Wickstead.
  7. Ivo, born 1887, died 1969. Married Prudence Simmonds. Farmed at Patea. Their only child Kenneth also farmed at Patea.
  8. Violet Suzie, born 1889. Married Cyril Langdon Dymock in June 1909. He managed the Bank of New Zealand branch at Taihape where Violet was a teacher.
  9. Alice Muriel, born 1891, died 1964. Married Herbert Hereward Edwards of Stoke, Nelson, where they settled.
  10. Earle, born 1892, died 1893.
  11. Victor Maurice, born 1895, died in 1916 of tuberculosis.
Edmund Honeyfield and family, 1903. Back row: Leonard, Lena, Ivo, Catherine (Mother), Clara, Cecil, Mildred. Front row: Irene, Edmund (Father), Alice, Violet, Maurice


Wakaiwa Rāwinia’s Atiawa hapū connections

Updated 31 December 2021


The hapū was the main social unit of traditional Māori society and it remains a fundamental organising institution for whānau groups today and is central to establishing one’s Māori identity. Melissa March wrote that:

In understanding the process of self-identification within a Māori context, it is vital to have an understanding of the individual’s place within their whānau/hapū/iwi and the wider community … for most Māori, knowing ones ancestry is of the utmost importance … Turangawaewae represents one location where an individual can say ‘I belong here’.

(M Marsh, 2010: pvii & 1)

Researching Rāwinia’s whānau/hapū connections has been one of the more challenging aspects of my research for this website. Complexities have included the multiplicity, intermingling and migrations of kinship groups in pre-European times; the loss of hapū that ceased to exist after a period following the arrival of Europeans; tribal and hapū configurations that became prone to change during the mid to late 19th century; and many references in the research of others claiming that Rāwinia belonged to the Ngāti Te Whiti hapū, although establishing whakapapa links in that regard has proven to be problematic.

Hapū affiliations fluctuated over time as many of our tūpuna identified themselves according to the situation in which they were operating at the time (personal correspondence with Hilary & John Mitchell, October 2019). One possible reason for the many connections claimed is that Māori traditionally carried blood relationships to the tenth or twelfth cousinship or further (Smith, p171). Some of that detailed knowledge has either been lost or has not yet surfaced in my research.

Another factor that would support close kin ties between hapū within Te Atiawa may have arisen from the population recovery of the tribe following almost being wiped out by the Nga-Potiki-taua in the 17th century.

Marsh observed that ‘over the years a mass of information had been lost through such things as the Land Wars and the suppression of Māori within Taranaki’ (2010: 3).

Percy Smith (1910) recorded 13 ‘divisions of Ati Awa’ [sic] in his History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast, including:

  1. Hamua
  2. Ngati Rahiri
  3. Ngati-Tawake
  4. Ngati-Ue-nuku
  5. Puke-rangi-ora
  6. Puketapu
  7. Ngati-Tawhiri-kura
  8. Kai-tangata
  9. Manu-Korihi
  10. Nga-Motu
  11. Otaraua
  12. Ngati-Tuparikino
  13. Ngati-Tuahu.

At least six of the above are connected with Wakaiwa Rāwinia. Only the seven shown in italics above are recognised by Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa as one of their tribal hapū today. Ngāti Te Whiti, also recognised as one of the seven Atiawa hapū today, not listed by Smith, may have been regarded at that time as part of the Ngāmotu hapū.

Demise of some hapū

During the 1860s Native Land Court claimants were required to provide tribal and hapū details to substantiate kinship attachment to land (established under the Native Lands Act 1865, the court provided for the conversion of traditional communal landholdings into individual titles making it easier for Pāhehā to purchase Māori land). Extensive evidence presented to the court suggested a multiplicity of kinship groups had existed within Te Atiawa (Keenan, 1991) which no doubt clouded the establishment of proprietary rights to land and resulted in some hapū loosing their ancestral land.

In his research of the Hauraki area, Paul Monin estimated that hapū usually comprised 40 – 60 family members (2006, page 14). Using that as a guide there may well have been in excess of 50 Ātiawa hapū in Taranaki in the early 1800s.

Extensive land sales to the Crown during the 1840s and 1850s contributed significantly to the demise of some hapū. Confiscations of land by the Crown following the Land Wars of the 1860s also had devastating consequences for many hapū.

According to research by Leanne Boulton, mistrust between the settler community and Te Atiawa presence and their reserves utimately led to the retreat of Te Atiawa communities from the city of New Plymouth (2004, piii), further alienating hapū from their ancestral lands.

Ngāti Taweke

Ngāti Taweke is one such hapū that is no more. Wakaiwa Rawinia’s links to Ngāti Taweke go back at least to Korotiwha (circa 1600) and the sucessful restoration of Te Atiawa lands from the Taranaki iwi (see posting on Wakaiwa’s Tūpuna).

Moving forward to the 19th century, Government land agent Donald McLean, in his census of 1847, regarded Ngāti Taweke as still one of the primary hapū of the area between the Waiwakaiho and Waiongana rivers. Its members continued to claim mana whenua through to the 1860’s. However, the hapū’s demise seems to have been rapid as it did not appear in the census of 1874, becoming instead absorbed into the Puketapu hapū in consequence of its traditional mana whenua passing from its control (ibid, p196).


Ngāmotu is another of the original Te Atiawa hapū no longer recognised by Te Atiawa, the hapū regarded as a kinship group by the Ngāti Te Whiti.

The Ngāmotu area was popular in traditional Māori society due to the excellent fishing grounds around the Sugar Loaf islands. At different times the area was occupied by either Te Atiawa or Taranaki iwi.

By the early 1800s numerous sections of Te Atiawa hapū lived there, possibly including Ngāti Te Whiti, Ngāti Tawhirikura, Ngāti Rāhiri and Ngāti Tuparikino, with ‘Ngāmotu’ being used as a generic name for the cluster of hapū living there (Mitchell, 2014). ‘Nga Motu/ The Islands’ being a place rather than the name of an ancestor/tūpuna also lends weight to the hapū being a collection of kinship groups. Other researches such as Percy Smith described the community as the Ngāmotu hapū. Leanne Boulton used the term ‘Ngāmotu hapū’ to cover people of several closely related hapū, being Ngāti Te Whiti, Ngāti Tawhirikura, Ngāti Tuparikino and Ngāti Hamua. The Taranaki Report: Kaupapa Tuatahi noted that ”hapu’ may refer to both a single hapu and to a combination of hapu’ (1996:1, footnote 2).

The Barrett’s joined their Te Atiawa/Ngāmotu kin in the migration south in 1832. While they lived with their kin at Waikanae they were known to belonging to the Ngāmotu hapū, and it is that identity the survived at least through to the 1870’s.

Along with those who remained to maintain ahi kaa, other members of the hapū returned to live in the rohe in the 1840s. Ngāmotu became the main hapū identified not only with the area around the islands but extending over much of the lands purchased for New Plymouth.

The Colonial Government purchased approximately 3,500 acres (the ‘Fitzroy block) from Ngāmotu in November 1844 with about 83 signatories. That was followed in 1847 by another 9,770 acres (the Grey block) purchased from 28 members of Ngāmotu that also provided for 910 acres of reserves. Finally, there was another 12,000 – 14,000 acres sold to the Crown by 129 representatives of the Puketapu hapū and Ngāmotu hapū on 3 March, 1854 (J Ford, 1991).

Ngāmotu hapu utilised their native reserves as allocated by the Crown to grow and sell produce, successfully engaging with the settler community. Engaging with the European capitalist economy was not entirely new for the hapū, having formed a successful partnership with Love and Barrett from the late 1820’s when they exported and imported a range of goods (Boulton, page 112). Funds from land sales were used to purchase stock and agricultural produce. However, as Boulton pointed out ‘this expression of economic independence was considered a threat to the expansion of British settlement because it was believed that as Te Ātiawa had a steady income they would be reluctant to sell further land to the Crown’ (page 122).

Boulton went on to conclude that the Taranaki Wars of 1860 – 1863 were responsible for a radical and irreparable decrease in inter-cultural trust in the public sphere … despite the great majority of Ngāmotu remaining either neutral or friendly during the conflicts and despite Ngāmotu’s attempts to forge a future with Pākehā based on kinship, equality and mutually beneficial relationships (page 272).

The official census of the Māori population taken in 1878 revealed that a total of 87 people were recorded as being of the Ngāmotu hapū, living in the area from Mangaone to Ratapihipihi – the later being the likely ‘home’ area of Rāwinia’s parents in the 1820’s, and close to where she was allocated some land (NZ Census of the Māori population, 1878, source: Papers Past). A total of 1201 people of Te Ātiawa were recorded in the census, with eight other hapū (with numbers of people): ‘Ngatitama’ [sic] 32, ‘Ngatitama & ‘Ngatimutunga’ [sic] 194, ‘Ngatirahiri’ [sic] 441, Manukorihi 43, ‘Ngatimaru’ [sic] 156, Puketapu & Pukerangiora 248.

A major rupture of the Ngāmotu hapū seems to have occurred during the three years following the 1878 census. Only one person (a female over the age of 15) was recorded as being of the Ngāmotu hapū in the 1881 Census of the Maori Population – possibly Sarah Honeyfield as she lived in New Plymouth at that time. N Parris, Undersecretary of Native Department, recorded a ‘considerable decrease’ of 836 in the numbers of Māori in that area of Taranaki since the 1878 census, although 310 of those were held in the South Island as Parihaka prisoners. Indeed, the events leading to the establishment of Parihaka may explain part of that decrease – by 1881 over 1,000 Māori were residing at Parihaka, including 192 Ngāti Rāhiri – however no one from the Ngāmotu hapū or any of the other sub-hapu of the Ngāmotū were recorded as living there. Perhaps some of the prisoners were Ngāmotu, but there are no data of the tribal affiliations of the prisoners. Parihaka was established in 1866 by Te Whiti O Rongomai, a member of Ngāti Te Whiti who was born at Ngāmotu. The passive resistance of the Parihaka people through ploughing and fence removal between 1878 – 1880 lead to the government invasion and dismantling of Parihaka in 1881.

Sequential land sales are likely to have been the one of the main reasons for the demise of Ngāmotu hapū by the 1880’s. Other reasons for the demise of Ngāmotu may have been through deaths from consumption, or by transfer to other hapū (hapū living in the New Plymouth area in 1881 included Ngāti Rāhiri, Puketapu and Ngāti Tuparikino).

It is possible that with the passing of the Ngāmotu chief Poharama in 1875 that remaining members of the hapū subsequently realigned their affiliations. Poharama was one of those who remained to keep ahi kaa at Ngāmotu in the 1830’s. Poharama is buried on a plot of land at the Otaka/Pioneer Park on Hakirau Street, New Plymouth, adjacent the old freezing works at Moturoa that was the site of the Otaka pā. Poharama had been living at Ratapihipihi but, feeling that his end was near, asked that he be taken to his old home at Moturoa where he died.

I have not found mention of the Ngāmotu hapu after 1881 other than the Ngāti Te Whiti claiming a right of occupation partly based on kinship links to Ngāmotu. Where those kinship links lie remains an issue for ongoing research.

The Ngāmotu area continues to have special significance to the ancestors of Dicky and Rāwinia Barrett. It’s where Barrett first landed at Taranaki in 1828 and it became the location of Barrett’s trading station. Dicky and Rāwinia lived there as a couple from 1828, it is where they had their first two children and where they became members of the Ngāmotu hapū. Barrett helped to defend the Otaka pā at Ngāmotu against the invading Tainui in 1832. It is the area where a small band of Te Atiawa, including Rāwinia’s parents, maintained ahi kaa between 1832 – 1840. It was also the area that the Barrett’s returned to permanently in 1841 and where they worked their land holdings and where Barrett set up a whaling station. It is the area where they are buried. It is the area where the Honeyfield’s continued to live and farm for the remainder of the 19th century and into the early 20th century.

Rāwinia was a person of great mana due to her whakapapa connections. There can be little doubt that Rāwinia was related to members of all of the various hapū that lived in and around Ngamotu, and that she could whakapapa to Māori leadership throughout Taranaki and the Waikato. As members of the extended Honeyfield whānau, we can be proud to sustain the memory of Rāwinia’s high standing as a ‘wahine whaimana (female chief of the highest seniority and standing) respected by both Māori and European’ (Mitchell, 2014).

Through the descendants of Wakaiwa Rāwinia the heartbeat of the Ngāmotu hapū continues today, and as descendants of Dicky and Rāwinia, we can say:

Ko Taranaki te Maunga

Ko Te Herekawe me Te Waiwhakaiho nga awa

Ko Tokomaru te waka

Ko Te Ātiawa te iwi

Ko Ngāmotu te hapū

Ngāti Rāhiri

There are several whakapapa connections, ancestral land holdings and historic events that lend support to Rāwinia belonging to the Ngāti Rāhiri hapū. According to information held by the National Library (and as noted in the posting on Wakaiwa Rāwinia’s Tūpuna) Rāwinia’s grand-father Tautara was a chief of Ngāti Rāhiri.

Tautara’s son, Epiha Te Karokora, in advocating for the retention of Ngāti Rāhiri land, strongly indicates that he belonged to Ngāti Rāhiri. Similarly, the fact that Rāwinia’s second cousin, Huriwhenua was the paramount chief of Ngati Rāhiri ki Te Tau Ihu also confirms whakapapa links to Ngāti Rāhiri.

While the Ngāti Rāhiri traditional rohe was from the north side of the Waitara River to the Onaero River, concentrating about the Waihi Stream and the Te Taniwha pa at Turangi, Ngāti Rāhiri were a notable part of the cluster of hapū living at Ngāmotu in the early 1800s. One source noted that Ngāti Rāhiri were regarded as having mana whenua over Ngāmotu in the early 1800s (H & J Mitchell, 2004, p105). Percy Smith noted that one of the two waka that intercepted Barrett and Love’s vessel, The Adventure, was Te Pae-a-huri belonging to Ngāti Rāhiri. Those factors lend more credence to Wakaiwa Rawinia being of Ngāti Rāhiri descent as it clearly plausible that, while her whanau lived in or near to Ngāmotu, so did members of the Ngāti Rāhiri hapū,

Land holdings also fit the puzzle as Rāwinia was awarded Ngāti Rāhiri sections 3 and 9 by the Maori Land Court. Some of that Ngāti Rāhiri land holding was passed onto Rāwinia’s children. After Caroline (Kara) died her interest in a Ngāti Rāhiri land holding trust was passed onto her children in 1901. Honeyfield whānau representation on the trust continues to this day.

Interestingly, Te Wharepouri, Te Puni Honiana and Henare Te Keha – mostly otherwise regarded as being Ngāti Te Whiti – were listing among the Ngāti Rāhiri who joined Te Rauparaha’s migration to the south of the North Island in 1822, indicating a kinship relationship. For the next 10 years many Te Ātiawa chiefs travelled back and fourth between their new land holdings at Waikanae and Wellington, and their ancestral homes at North Taranaki (Mitchell, p110).

Ngāti Rāhiri were the most populous of the eight Te Ātiawa hapū recorded in the census of the Māori population, 1878.

Ngāti Tawhirikura

Ngāti Tawhirikura’s rohe includes Aotere Pā and what is now the Katere Scenic Reserve on the northern side of Waiwakaiho River.

Rāwinia’s first cousin, Taurau, was a rangatira of the Ngāti Tawhirikura. As noted in the posting of Rāwinia’s tūpuna, her grandfather Tautara was also said to have been a member of the Ngāti Tawhirikura hapū of Te Atiawa. Tautara spent some time living at the Ngāti Tawhirikura’s pā, Rewarewa, which lay on the northern bank at the mouth of the Waiwakaiho River. Tautara’s daughter Hineone (born in 1780 and sister to Kuramai-i–tera, Rawinia’s mother) was the mother of Kipa whose son was Neha Te Manihera (Skipper) of Ngāti Tawhirikura.

Te Puni Honiana was also of the Ngāti Tawhirikura as well as Ngāti Te Whiti.

Although the Ngāti Tawhirikura had kinship ties with the Taranaki iwi, they fought each other in a great battle at the Rewarewa pā in about 1805 (Penny Ehrhardt, 1993, page 16). On that occasion, the Taranaki iwi, seeking utu following their defeat earlier at the Koru pā near Oakura, defeated Ngāti Tawhirikura.

Rewarewa must have been a substantial pā as it was the host to the visiting Amiowhenua taua around 1821-22.

At various times the Ngāti Tawhirikura were considered to be part of the Ngāmotu hapū, along with Ngāti Tuparikino and Ngāti Te Whiti, and that must have continued to at least 1878 as the census made no mention of those three hapū, but did include Ngāmotu.

Ngāti Tawhirikura suffered greatly from English colonisation, and it was not until the 1980s that the hapū reestablished themselves and their marae at Katere, on part of the former Katere Native Reserve. Ngāti Tawhirikura are currently recognised as one of the seven surviving hapū of Te Ātiawa.

After 24 years of discussions, in April 2019 Ngāti Tawhirikura once again held mana whenua over Aotere Pā, once part of the Ravensdown fertiliser site in Waiwhakaiho, New Plymouth for 50 years.

Ngāti Tuparikino

While Ngāti Tuparikino is another of the original hapū not listed on Te Ātiawa’s web site the hapū continues to have a seperate identity recognised by local government.

The Ngāti Tuparikino hapū rohe includes what is now known as the Ngahere Scenic Reserve and the adjacent Tupare on the banks of the Waiwhakaiho River.

Tautara’s grandfather, Potaka Taniwha was said to have been related to the Ngāti Tuparikino. Following the defeat of the Taranaki iwi (Nga-Potiki-taua) the Ngāti Tuparikino hapū of Te Atiawa re-occupied their old territories in the Te Henui river valley through to the Waiwakaiho River, and portions of the Huatoki valley. Some of their pas were Wharepapa (Fort Niger), Te Kawau (at the mouth of the Huatoki), Pu-rakau on the north bank of the Henui river; and Puke-totara (History and Traditions of the Taranaki Coast, Chapter 10, Taking of Wai-Manu).

Ngāti Te Whiti

The people of Ngāti Te Whiti trace their descent from Te Whiti O Rongomai who lived in the mid 1700s.

There are many claims, in both official records and by researchers, that Wakaiwa Rāwinia belonged to the Ngāti Te Whiti hapū. Moreover, Wakaiwa Rāwinia was also said to be related to leading Ngāti Te Whiti rangatira (H & J Mitchell 2014, p337), with one source incorrectly claiming that Wakaiwa was the sister of Te Wharepouri (A Preston, 1991).

As noted elsewhere, there are references to her father Eruera also being of Ngāti Te Whiti. While I have found no direct whakapapa links to confirm that relationship, a census of Maori and Pākehā organised by Donald McLean in 1847 provides evidence confirming the historical references to Rāwinia being of Ngāti Te Whiti were right: Eruera, Rāwinia, Kararaina and Hera are all listed as being of ‘Ngati Te Witi’ (the spelling probably being due to the local dialect having a silent ‘h’). A side note records ‘Barrett’s children, Kararaina and Sarah’. Poharama and other Ngāti Te Whiti people are also listed (Inspector of Police – statistics and census returns, Maori and Pakeha). The census listed a total of 25 hāpu or pā identities.

The ‘Eruera’ listed in the census is very likely to be Rāwinia’s father, Eruera Te Puke Mahurangi, as other McLean papers reference a dispute between Poharama and ‘the father of the native woman [Barrett] is married to’ and ‘the chief Eruera of the Ngamotu tribe’. In December 1847 Governor George Grey met with the Ngamotu chiefs, including ‘the old chief Eruera’. There can no longer be any doubt that Eruera was of Ngāti Te Whiti ancestry.

Rāwinia’s parents lived at Ratapihipihi at the time of Barrett’s arrival in 1828. The Honeyfield whānau interest was retained at least until the 1940’s. The Ratapihipihi A East Block was granted by the Māori Land Court to Ronald McLean, son of Ellen Caroline Honeyfield, on 5 July 1942.

Dicky and Rāwhinia are buried at the Wahi Tapu urupa at Ngamotu Beach, part of the contemporary and traditional Ngāti Te Whiti rohe.

Ngāti Te Whiti currently trace their right of occupation to a number of kinship groups such as Moturoa, Ngāmotu, Ngāti Tuparikino, Ngāti Hamua and Ngāti Tawhirikura, only one of which survive today. However, Ngāmotu were clearly the leading hapū identity for most of the 19th century, with several sub-hapū, including Ngāti Te Whiti. Further research is required to reveal the process and timing which has resulted in Ngāmotu being superseded by Ngāti Te Whiti.

Several of those actively involved with the hapū today have Honeyfield or Love ancestry.

However, there has been a division of Ngāti Te Whiti, with a breakaway group called Ngāti Te Whiti Ahi Kaa.

Today, Ngāti Te Whiti say that the hapū:

… is the mana whenua of New Plymouth. Our rohe extends from the Herekawe to the Waiwhakaiho River, inland to its headwaters on Taranaki and back to the Herekawe. We regard New Plymouth as our tūrangawaewae – our paepae, our footstool, the land on which we alone might stand’ .

Ngati Te Whiti


Tautara’s usual place of residence was said to have been the Puketapu pa, a few miles to the north of the Waiwakaiho River. Tautara’s grandfather, Potaka Taniwha was also said of have been of the Puketapu (Smith). While Potaka has been described as being of Ngāti Toa/Ngāti Kinokaku/Tainui (Mitchell 2014, note 111 page 442, that relationship is more likely to have been in reference to his line of descent being from Ngāti Tama/Tainui some generations previously. Refer to my posting on Wakaiwa’s tūpuna for information showing that Potaka was a man of substance and influence within the Te Ātiawa rohe.

The Puketapu rohe is north of the Waiwakaiho River in the area now known as Bell Block and to the area just south of Waitara.

At the time of establishing the trading post at Ngamotu

Ngāti Rāhiri and Ngāti Te Whiti played a pivotal role in the establishment of Jacky Love’s and Dicky Barrett’s trading post at Ngāmotu in 1828. The two waka sent out to intercept the Adventure were Ngāti Rāhiri’s Te Pae-a-huri and Ngāti Te Whiti’s Te Rua-Kotare (Journal of the Polynesian Society, chapter XVII). At that time some 2,000 Te Ātiawa people lived along the coastal area, and there were over 30 pā (A Caughey, page 27). More information about the circumstances and background to these events can be found in the following postings on this website:

The hapū today

In partnership with the New Plymouth District Council under the Mana Whenua, Mana Moana arrangements, Ngāti Rāhiri, Ngāti Tawhirikura, Ngāti Te Whiti and Puketapu exercise kaitiakitanga (spiritual and physical guardianship of the environment) within their rohe.

Te Atiawa

(Updated 21 July 2019)

Te Atiawa trace their origins to their founder Awanuiarangi who was conceived from the union of an earthly mother, Rongoueroa, and Tamarau-te-Heketanga-a-Rangi, a spirit descended from the sky.

Early Te Ātiawa ancestors were known has the Kahui people, including the following hapū: Te Kahui Ao, Te Kahui Rangi and Te Kahui Maunga.

Te Atiawa date their Polynesian ancestors arrival in Aotearoa from Hawaiki in about 1350 from the Tokomaru waka (canoe). Intermarriages with the Kahui people followed.

As shown in the map below, Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand the traditional lands of Te Atiawa stretch from Nukutaipari at the southern base of Paritutu, through to Te Rau-o-te-Huia, near Motunui in the north. Inland, the territory encompasses the north-easter slopes of Mt Taranaki through to the Matematea Ranges. This territory of 32 km of coastline and a large fertile plain extending several kilometres inland, sustained Te Atiawa for about 500 years prior to the arrival of Europeans in 19th century.

Te Atiawa lands (Te Ara: Encyclopedia of New Zealand)

As recorded in the New Plymouth District Council’s Mana Whenua, Mana Moana policy, the Ātiawa coastline collectively constitute ‘… one of the most extensive traditional fishing reefs and are referred to in song and legends as a source of pride and prestige as well as food’ (2014, p23). Just as the land of Te Atiawa was divided amongst the various hapū, so too were the reefs.

Over a period of about 40 years from the 1820’s to the 1860’s things changed dramatically for Te Atiawa through inter-tribal warfare and migration south, the arrival of Europeans, and land sales through to the land wars where Māori were in conflict with the Crown. Several of those historic shifts are covered in the following postings on this website. See the postings for:

  • Te Ātiawa’s invitation to passing trans-Tasman traders (including Dicky Barrett) to establish a trading station at Ngāmotu in 1828.
  • The Battle of Otaka Pā for details of Te Atiawa’s success in fighting off the invading Tainui taua (war party).
  • Te Heke Tama Te Uaua (migration south) that occurred in 1832 and settled firstly in Kapiti and then at Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington).

An earlier migration south by Te Atiawa had occurred in 1824 when members of three hapū, Ngāti Mutunga, Manukorihi and Puketapu moved south as Te Heke Niho Puta to join the Ngati Tama tribe who had not long previously left the Kawhia region in the Waikato to resettle south at Kapiti.

As the population of Taranaki and Kawhia tribes in the lower North Island grew, the demand for more land and resources gave rise to the conquest of Te Tau Ihu (Nelson – Marlborough), with the main attack taking place around 1829-30. By 1840, Te Atiawa occupied land from Totaranui (Queen Charlotte Sound) to Mohua (Golden Bay). See The History of Te Atiawa as shown on the Te Atiawa Trust’s website for more information.

While thousands of Te Atiawa departed from their home lands, ahi ka (continuous occupation) was maintained throughout the 1820’s and 1830’s by small numbers of people who remained in their rohe (including Rawinia’s parents, Eruera Te Puki-ki-Mahurangi and Kuramai-Te-Ra).

Land sales that occurred over the 1840’s, firstly to the New Zealand Company and subsequently to the Crown, came under increasing dispute, as Māori who had left over the preceding two decades began to return. Tensions at the time within Te Atiawa have been described thus, ‘Relations between those Māori who had remained in the area, those who had migrated and then returned, and those who had been taken captive but subsequently released were complex, as were their views on land sales’ (Early Purchases, Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa).

While many pre-1860s land sales had provided areas for native reserves, under the Native Reserves Commission land was sold without the owners consent. By 1990, at least 90 percent of the land reserved from purchases of Te Atiawa lands was alienated (Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa).

Eventually, tensions between the British colonists wanting land, and resistance to further land sales, culminated in war breaking out between Māori and the Crown, in opposition to the proposed sale of the Pekapeka Block (Waitara) in March, 1860.

As a consequence of the 1860’s land wars, some 1.2 million acres of land held by Te Atiawa and other Taranaki Iwi was confiscated. Māori were left very largely dispossessed and reduced to exercising kaitiakitanga (guardianship for the sky, the sea, and the land) over the small remaining areas left in their ownership.

Over the last 40 years, outcomes under enabling legislation governing local government and resource management, and Treaty of Waitangi negotiations, have expanded land ownership and restored some of the Mana Whenua/Mana Moana (exercising spiritual, environmental, social and economic dimensions of traditional Māori values) held by Māori through their whakapapa (ancestry) and occupation of the land by the tangata whenua (Māori people of a particular locality).

The Ātiawa claim under the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal was launched in 1990 at Owae Marae, Waitara. After an extremely complex and protracted process, settlement was finally reached 24 years later when the Deed of Settlement was signed in New Plymouth. Prior to that, in June 2013, Te Atiawa resolved to establish Te Kotahitanga o Te Ātiawa (Te Kotahitanga) as the post-settlement governance entity for Te Atiawa.

Today the hapū of Te Atiawa are Ngāti Rahiri, Manukorihi, Otaraua, Pukerangiora, Puketapu, Ngāti Tawhirikura, Hamua Te Matehou, Ngāti Tuparikino and Ngāti Te Whiti.

Henry John Honeyfield, 1830 – 1898

Updated 16 January 2020

Henry John Honeyfield was born at Langmore Farm, Gillingham, the fifth child of John and Hannah Honeyfield.

One of the Honeyfield children to move away from tenant farming, Henry took up an apprenticeship as a tailor for Style and Lowry in Salisbury and by 1851 had found work in London. The work was hard and so the prospect of being his own master by joining his siblings in New Plymouth and setting up his own business in New Plymouth had appeal.

At the age of 22 along with his younger brother, James Charles, aged 13, Henry departed London, England on 24 May 1852 on the Joseph Fletcher.  They arrived in New Plymouth almost five months later on the on 8 October 1852. Henry recorded a diary during the voyage, noting the incidence of smallpox onboard, catching flying fish and porpoise to supplement their diet, and that young James suffered a good deal from sea sickness.

The following is an edited extract from The Honeyfields of Taranaki, published in 2014 by Andrew Honeyfield, complied from research by various members of the extended Honeyfield family.

Henry took with him a stock of drapery and haberdashery goods and in 1853 he purchased an established drapery and general store from Mr G W Woon.

After having got established in New Plymouth, Henry returned to England in 1854 to marry his sweetheart Eliza Read (referred to by Henry as Ellen). Henry returned to New Plymouth with his wife and with another of his younger brothers, Edmond Charles, departing from Gravesend on 26 October 1855 on the Ashmore and arriving at New Plymouth five months later on 27 March 1856.

Henry acted as a guardian and mentor to his younger brother until Edmund came of age, when Henry assisted Edmund into a leased farm at Wanganui.

Henry’s business acumen in the new settlement of New Plymouth continued to play out well for him. In June 1859 he purchased a general store selling groceries, haberdashery and fancy goods, from Mrs Mary Hoskin. He imported silk and other fine cloth from Dorset, as well as wheat, flour, ryegrass seed, oats and farm implements.

Henry went on to engage in many other commercial interests. He was a director of the Taranaki Land Company, the New Plymouth Gas Company, the Steam Navigation Company, the Trustee Savings Bank, the Taranaki Land, Building and Investment Company and he was a partner in the Union Flour Mill with his brother-in-law Reed.

Farming was another of Henry’s interests. Like his siblings, he acquired land very quickly and somehow, by 1857, he was offering a 57 acre farm for lease on Barrett Reserve A [acting, presumably, as an agent for Caroline & Sarah]. Henry brought a farm in Devon Street, near its junction with Hobson Street and later owned nearly 1,000 acres near Bell Block. He took a great interest in well-breed stock and is understood to have been the first to introduce the Hampshire Down sheep breed to New Zealand.

Henry somehow found the time to be active in sporting and social activities, including the New Plymouth Cricket and Jockey Clubs. He was a Councillor on the Omata Riding of the local council, served on the Omata Roads Board and was a Justice of the Peace.

In July 1882, Ellen became ill with breast cancer. Although an operation was thought to have been successful, she died two years later at the age of 48 after a relapse.

Six months later Henry married Alice Brown Cotterell. Alice had recently arrived from Dorset and had lived with her aunt in New Plymouth.

During the 1890’s the New Zealand economy was depressed. To add to the problem, farmers were turning away from grain farming in Taranaki due to the regions unsuitably damp climate, and Henry’s flour mill was declared insolvent.

Regrettably, Henry took his own life in March 1898, aged 68. Henry is buried with his first wife in the Te Henui Cemetery.

A coronial inquiry commenced the day after Henry’s death. Henry had been suffering from chronic dyspepsia, and that would have the effect of affecting his mind. Henry’s physical ailments would be quite sufficient to produce and extreme state of mental depression. The jury returned a verdict of suicide while temporarily insane.

A letter was found in Henry’s pocket, addressed to his wife, stating:

Dear Alice, Forgive me for the bad deed I am about to do as I am too weak to undertake our journey, and I have not done my duty to my brother Robert’s children and cannot go to meet them, but make their share of my will to 2000 pounds so that they lose nothing by me; and may the Lord and Saviour have mercy on my soul. I feel too weak and mad about neglect.

At the time of his death Henry owned 911 acres of rural and commercial land in New Plymouth, Waitara, Urenui, Bell Block, Opunake, Kakaramea (near Patea) and as far away as Riverton in the South Island. The Merchantile Gazette estimated his Estate’s disposable assets at 17,464 pounds, a very sizable legacy in those times. In his will he left 167 acres to his niece Margaret Salway and her children and legacies to Kate Petty and to his nephew and executor of his estate, William Litchfield Newman. Small legacies were also left to the children of his brothers, Robert Honeyfield (in England), Edmund (Patea), William (New Plymouth), James (Tataraimaka) and to his sister Harriet Matilda Newman.

Alice Honeyfield moved to Sydney, Australia, but returned to New Plymouth for visits. She used Henry’s legacy to make many gifts to the citizens of New Plymouth, including the Honeyfield Fountain, Regina Place, new gates for the Te Henui Cemetery, the Kawaroa Park paddling pool. Alice, known as Aunt Alice to the Honeyfield family, died in Sydney in 1927.

Alice Honeyfield
Honeyfield Fountain, New Plymouth

News and updates, October 2018

Updates are made to this site as new information comes to hand. Several changes have recently been made, particularly to the posting on the Honeyfield migration to New Zealand. Additional material was sourced from a substantive research paper on the North Dorset Honeyfields authored by Ann Pearce and Frances Toogood that Anne Hodgson kindly sent me.

I would welcome any new material or feedback on this site so please do feel free to contact me.

Anne Hodgson has also set up a Barrett Honeyfield NZ Facebook group. The group has been set up for descendants of Richard (Dicky) and Wakaiwa Rawinia Barrett through their daughters – Caroline (Kararaina) and her husband James Charles Honeyfield, and Sarah (Hera) and her husband William Henry Honeyfield. If you would like to be added to the group please let me know.

Kevin and Jackie Honeyfield are hosting a celebration in January 2019 to mark 150 years of the Honeyfield family farm down Timaru Road, Tataraimaka. Part of the preparations is the collaborative development of  the ‘If Walls Could Talk’ document setting our accounts of the life and times of the extended Honeyfield family centered on the old Homestead and its antecedent Maori history.  Please let me know if you would like more information about these developments.

Paul Roberts

It’s a small world

Cate and I recently hosted two of our friends (Feleti and Janine) over the weekend and, while at the Matakana Farmers Market, we met a couple of their friends, including Ena Hutchinson who has a place in Leigh. As it happened we were all invited to Ena’s the following day and had a great time.


As the discussion and the wine flowed, it turned out that one of Ena’s ancestors, George Ashdown, was a crew member on board the ship Adventure along with Dicky Barrett when, on their first trading voyage in mid March 1828 they were enticed to go ashore and set up a trading post at Ngamotu. George, like Dicky and at least several others of the crew soon had female partners from local hapu … so there possibly an ancestral link between us too.

What a small world then, 198 years later two ancestors of Dicky and George met and discovered their mutual links to that historical event in Aotearoa’s history. What a buzz that was! It was a real delight to meet Ena.

Ena and I proceeded to have a long chat that day about our ancestral links. One of the resources Ena has drawn on is The Interpreter, a biography of Richard ‘Dicky’ Barrett by Angela Caughey. Soon after when Ena joined Cate and I at our place I produced my copy of Angela’s book which I purchased soon after its publication in 1998. I’d had it in storage in New Zealand at the time of writing the postings for this blog while living in Australia.

So I have a good deal to add to and update my blog postings here with material Ena gave me, plus information from The Interpreter. This I intend to do over the next few weeks.



Status of this blog, May 2016

In the 10 months since this blog was created there have been 14 postings covering the lives of Richard and Wakaiwa (Rawinia) Barrett and the many Honeyfield’s and their extended family, stretching almost 170 years from 1807 to 1974 and reaching back much earlier – to the arrival of our Maori ancestors in Aotearoa in around 1350, and our English ancestry going back to the 17th century, with historical roots going back to Roman Britain.

Much of the source material has come from descendants, supplemented with my own research. Many of the initial postings have been refreshed with new information and analysis.

I have no doubt there is much more material to add… which will hopefully happen over time. But for now, I have posted that which is available to me right now. Please contact me if you have anything to add.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy what is here.

Paul Roberts


John and Matilda Newman

(Updated 18 April 2022)

John Litchfield Newman was born in Kinsale, Ireland, in 1815. Harriet Matilda (nee Honeyfield) was born in Gillingham, Dorset, in 1826 (see The Honeyfield siblings emigration to New Zealand). Having met and married in New Plymouth in 1850, John and Matilda were among the earliest migrants to New Zealand.

Unlike his father and brother, who were both attorney’s, John’s interests were in business as a merchant and ship owner. By the late 1830’s the energetic young man had multiple businesses as a wine importer, provisioner (coal, grain, salt, and lime), and ship’s agent on Long Quay, Kinsale. John seems to have had considerable assistance from his family, having acquired his uncle John Spiller’s corn store, yard, offices, and stables and the lime and salt dealership had been owned by his cousin Elizabeth’s father-in-law. John’s wine dealership was initially in partnership with a Lewis Gollock, but was reopened by John as his own business following Mr Gollock’s retirement in 1843. By 1846, John was a ship’s agent and owned a ship, in addition to his other enterprises.

No doubt due in part to the Great Famine of Ireland that ran from 1845 to 1852, John was forced to sell his assets to pay debt and he was made bankrupt in 1847.

Although there is no record of his passage, John is thought to have arrived in New Zealand in about 1848, spending time in Auckland, Wellington and Nelson before arriving in New Plymouth in 1849.

John may have taken some capital from Ireland with him, since he was able to buy land in the Omata district, Taranaki. Actually, the land purchased appeared to have been within or adjacent to Barrett Reserve land originally allocated to Dickie and Rāwinia Barrett. The first was built in the 1850’s and was lived in by John and Matilda and their five children. It was known as Donnybrook Farm (Source: Kete New Plymouth TDN 6/10/2018).

The white cottage at 7 Kapu Grove was the third built by the Newmans. The western part of the home standing today was probably constructed in 1861, while the remainder of the house was built later.

Street view of 7 Kapu Grove

At the start of the Taranaki Land Wars in 1860 the settlers of Omata combined to build a stockade for protection and the Newman family at first found safety there. Soon after the family fled Omata during the Maori wars in the early 1860’s, moving to Nelson for a few years where John was a publican. The family cottage was left vacant and did not survive the war. ‘The Taranaki Herald simply noting on 2 March 1861 that , “Newman’s  house (Donnybrook) was burnt yesterday”. The home was rebuilt when the family returned, only to burn down again in 1866 (Kete New Plymouth).

John and Matilda had five children:

  • George John, born 1851, died 1924

George married Annie Poad and was a businessman for many years in New Plymouth and was a founding member of the New Plymouth Bowling Club. George retired to Auckland.

  • William Litchfield, born 1853, died 1921

William married Sarah Hempson and was a shipping agent before establishing a business.

  • Martha Anne, born 1855, died 1886
  • John (Jack) Honeyfield, born 1857, died 1891

Jack was educated in Taranaki and became a shipping agent before going into business with his brother Henry as storekeepers and general merchants in Opunake. Jack did not marry.

  • Albina Elizabeth, born 1860, died 1948

Married Oliver Coombe.

  • Henry James, born 1864, died 1946.

Henry married Zoe Prosser. He went into business with his brother Jack.

After a long illness, Matilda died in March 1886, aged 62 years. John Litchfield Newman died eight months later in November 1886, aged 71 years. Both are buried at Te Henui cemetery.

John L Newman

John Litchfield Newman

William and Ethel Honeyfield 1872 – 1974

Updated 7 May, 2020


The legacy of William and Ethel Honeyfield is extensive and proud, leaving fond memories of a couple deeply rooted in their community and family. Generous and welcoming hosts, and loving parents to nine children, their story traverses the early colonial period through to modern times.


William (Will) was born on April 6, 1872 and was the oldest son of James and Caroline Honeyfield, grandson of Dicky and Rāwinia Barrett. Will lived his entire life at the Homestead in Tataraimaka.

Will married Ethel May Morris on 10th of November 1897 at St. Peter’s Church, Tataraimaka.

Wedding of William and Ethel

By the turn of the century Will and Ethel were farming the original Honeyfield farm purchased by Will’s parents James and Caroline in 1869.


Ethel was born in the Morris family household on Tapaue Hill, on June 7, 1875 (registered at Camberwell, London). Ethel’s father, Frederick Joseph Morris, was born in Middlesex, England in 1849. Ethel’s mother, Emily Sarah Wareham was born in 1849, in Hackney, London. Frederick and Emily married in Lambeth, London in 1870.

Ethel was four and a half years of age when the Morris family emigrated to New Zealand, in 1879. The Morris family, like all other passengers on board, made the journey at their own expense, and were therefore regarded as ‘a very respectable class of people’ (Otago Witness). The Morris family made the trip in the saloon area of the vessel. It was an eventful voyage on board the vessel Taranaki, with great sorry and great joy. There was great sadness from the death of Ethel’s brother, Sydney Arthur, who died during the voyage from tabes mesenterica. Happily, there was great joy with the birth of Thomas Wareham just one month out from arrival at Port Chalmers on 21 December 1879, 82 days after leaving Glasgow. One of Ethel’s early stories was of being scolded for losing one of her shoes when she was being carried ashore on their arrival at New Plymouth.

The Morris family arrived in New Plymouth in 1880 and settled in Tapuae (not far from Oakura) where they started dairy farming.

Thanks to some research by Heritage Taranaki Incorporated we know that the Morris family’s first home was the former Pahitere Blockhouse that was constructed in 1864 for military use during the Second Taranaki Land War. Built on the old pā site Pahitere, soldiers huts were dug into the eastern slope.

Pahitere Blockhouse, Taranaki. Nicholl, Spencer Percival Talbot, 1841-1908: Photograph albums. Ref: PA1-q-177-06-2. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23106072.

Fred and Emily relocated the blockhouse to its present location, residing in it until 1888 when they shifted into the villa across the road.

Recent photo of ‘Pahitere Blockhouse’ , source: Heritage Taranaki Incorporated

Frederick went on to chair the Oakura school committee, the Oakura Road Board, and was a member of the Taranaki County Council. The old Morris house where Ethel grew up still stands today. Ethel attended Oakura School.

Frederick Joseph Morris
Frederick Joseph Morris
Emily Sarah Morris, 14 Jan 1915
Emily Sarah Morris

Ethel’s younger brother, Fred Morris, was born in London in 1877. Fred and Ethel were among the earliest pupils of Oakura School. Like Ethel, Fred lived a long life. At the age of 99 he was living by himself, keeping his lawns and gardens in immaculate condition, and continued to play bowls (Oakura School and Districts 110th Jubilee Souvenir Booklet).

The farm purchased by Fred and Emily remained in the Morris family until about 1939.

The children

Will and Ethel had nine children in 14 years in the Homestead. The house was without an indoor toilet, although they renovated the place to include the timber finished ceiling in the sitting room.

Eight of the Honeyfield children were educated at Oakura School. The children had to get up early to catch the horses to ride to school along the coast road.

More information about the children, and some memories of them, follow.

Eric Morris

  • Born 1st October 1898
  • Eric attended school at Oakura, riding his pony along the beach road
  • Married Doris (Topsy) Corbett. Eric and Topsy lived in a house opposite the Honeyfield family homestead on Lower Timaru Road
  • Served in the Home Guard during WWII
  • Eric had a great interest in horse racing and was an owner-trainer. His involvement with the Taranaki Hunt Club led to his property being used for the annual Hunt meetings.
  • Director of the Patua Dairy Company from 1935 to 1956
  • Died suddenly on 16 September 1956 while returning from a race meeting with his wife and daughter, Gwen.

Rex Barrett

  • Born 15th November 1899
  • Educated at Oakura School
  • Married Amy Longley in 1924
  • Rex had an interest in horse racing
  • Died 1966

Clarice Ethel

  • Born 8th December 1900
  • Married George Mills & moved to Palmerston North
  • Clarice was an enthusiastic bridge and croquet player
  • Died at Wanganui on 9th April 1985

Lina Emily

  • Born 20th June 1902
  • Married Les Wooldridge in 1925
  • Farmed on Dover Rd
  • Died 16th May 1951

Kenneth (Ken) William

  • Born 3rd February 1904
  • Attended Oakura School and then the New Plymouth Boys High School as a border
  • Worked on the Honeyfield farm at Tataraimaka and eventually moved to the Honeyfield homestead as the owner. He was a director of the Patua Dairy Factory
  • Married Mary Dommett from Marton in 1930
  • Like his siblings and father before him, Ken had a keen interest in training racehorses, winning the Desert Gold Stakes in Wellington in 1951 with ‘Princess Loch’
  • Died from a heart attack on 16 May 1964.

Kenneth (Ken, or Poppa to his grandkids) and Mary were grandparents to Paul Roberts and Kevin Honeyfield, contributors to this website.

As a young child Paul Roberts remembers many trips to Tataraimaka to visit Ken and Mary at their cottage and/or Uncle Peter, Aunty Val and his cousins at the Honeyfield homestead. The kids spent long hours playing all sorts of games. Afternoon teas were amazing, with lots of yummy cakes and scones for everyone.

Farm stays were frequent and that involved farm duties like feeding the calves, feeding out hay or insilage to the cows, grubbing for weeds, bringing the cows in for milking. The extended family all helped out on the farm during hay making.

Going to the beach for swimming and picnics was a frequent occurrence, whether at Oakura, Lower Timaru Road or Ngamotu Beach, New Plymouth as the photo below shows. Ngamotu is of special significance to the Honeyfield whānau, being Rāwinia’s whenua; the location of Dicky Barrett’s trading post and whaling station, and the location of early Honeyfield farming and trading activities.

Back row: Graeme Honeyfield, Mary Honeyfield, Wilma (Honeyfield) Roberts, Val Honeyfield. Front row: Ken, David and Paul Roberts, Kevin, Trevor and Leslie Honeyfield, Jenny Roberts, taken at Ngamotu beach circa 1960

James Frederick

  • Born 15th October 1905
  • Educated at Oakura school and then Tataraimaka school after the bride over the Timaru River was washed away.
  • Married Thelma Knott in 1932
  • Sold his farm at Tataraimaka and then owned the Okato Drapery. He also had a farm at Victoria Road, Oakura
  • Died in 1959.

Ada Maggie

  • Born 27th December 1906
  • Educated at New Plymouth Girls High School
  • Married Donald Robertson 1934
  • Lived in Palmerston North for awhile before returning to New Plymouth,
  • Held the positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer at various times for the Westown Country Women’s Institute
  • Died in 2003

School picnics were held quite regularly down by Katikara river for the day or sometimes we might have gone up to Rileys paddock for fun days and school concerts were also held. These were organised by the assistants at the school and were a big occasion in the district. There were three assistants at the school; a Miss Gibson, and Kath Giddy and Oma Patterson who were friends of the family. They used to spend a lot of time at the farm often staying the night. We used to see a lot of those two.

Ethel had eight lunches to cut before they all went to school every day and when they came home there was always something to eat as the children were hungry by the time they rode their horses home. She had quite a busy time preparing all the food for the family.

Hay making was an important time on the farm starting late spring til early January – cook for 15 men, bake scones for morning tea, cook dinner then buns for afternoon tea and after that the girls had to do the milking. No men helped and sometimes one of the girls would have to go out and rake the hay. Sometimes they also had to lead the horse to the hay stack so the hay could be thrown up on top of the hay stack. They walked miles a day doing this, and at this time the female was the jack of all trades.

There was a rather eccentric Minister of Religion in the district. They never knew when he would call. He would knock on the door and never waiting for the knock to be answered he would burst in and call out ‘Ha Ha Ha! here’s Charley’. He had an awful laugh. It would usually be when the family was sitting down to the evening meal and they would have to make room for him at the table. The children would sit and watch him eat. They reckoned he chewed each mouthful 30 times and would watch and giggle amongst each other and try and mimic him. Mother used to get a bit hot under the collar and the meal seemed to go on and on. They used to get a bit fed up at times. His full name was Charley Addenbrook. Of course there had to be a bed for the night and as he travelled by gig someone had to unharness and put the horse away. After tea he would chase kids around the house for half an hour. There were glass doors at the lounge and one night one of the kids closed the door and Charley went crashing through them and that finished that game. But beside all that he was a well read man as he used to sit up with mother and father talking about things going on in the world and at home, and also helped with the kids homework especially arithmetic which he was quite clever at. For all his silliness he had brains.

On New Year’s day we all got together and had a picnic at Oakura Beach not only the family – neighbours as well – some fishing, some swimming, and when I was 14 on boxing day some went to the races. These were the Christmas outings as a teenager.

Guy Fawkes was celebrated every year until the children grew up and started leaving home. A great occasion. Rubbish was collected for weeks before time and we had a real high bonfire when the time came. The neighbours would come and there would be quite a crowd and we would have a great time on Guy Fawkes night and they never had an accident. Some times they went to Father’s brother’s place, Charley Honeyfield. He too had a large bonfire and things so Guy Fawkes was really looked forward to.

When I was just a little kid i used to watch out for the cart to go along the back road down to the Pitone factory at the bottom of Pitone Road by the beach. I was just a horse and cart in those days. Later on this factory was closed and the Patua factory opened in 1915 and Dad was made Chairman until his death in 1932. Father had a bad accident at Patua. He was filling a can with whey when the cart overbalanced and he was tipped over on his back. He was in hospital for some time after that.

The old factory was used as a milking shed by Charley Honeyfield who also used the old waterwheel.

The boys and their father used to ride along the beach to Oakura Beach to search for mussels and sometimes came home with about a sack full on the horses back. They were usually put into two sacks so the load was carried by two horses and gee, they were good – all fresh from the sea – nothing like what you get these days from town – they are not so fresh. They used to get oysters by the sack-full in their shells from the Bluff oyster beds down south. They would light the fire and put a tin over the fire and put the oysters over the top and let them cook enough to open the shell up. And then we would eat them like that either raw or cook them some other way.

Reminiscences of Ada, transcribed by her daughter Allison Harris, published in The Honeyfields of Taranaki, 2014

Irene (Rene) Octavia

  • Born 31st December 1908
  • Married Don Fox
  • They worked together in their shop during WWII, supplying both grocery and drapery goods, with a bakery incorporated. The couple found time to play tennis and bowls competitively.
  • In 1953 the couple moved to a dairy farm in Horsham Downs, near Hamilton. That proved to be unsuccessful as the land was poor, so they moved a few miles away to Komakorau, this time more success.
  • Retired to Tauranga
  • Died 1966.

Montague Leslie

  • Born 21st September 1912
  • Educated at Tataraimaka school
  • After leaving school Monty worked for a steel works at Nelson
  • Married Hazel Richardson in 1932
  • Monty and Hazel went sharemilking in the King Country, returning to Taranaki in the 1950s where they bought a farm on Wiremu Road
  • Died 1983

Below is a photo of the family taken some time in the 1920’s.

Honeyfield Family 1920s.

Community engagement

Will continued the work his father James had started with dairy company involvement, ongoing roading improvements and community affairs. Will was instrumental in the local hall being built and the management of the Tataraimaka cemetery.

During the great flu epidemic of 1918, Will put himself, and his family at risk to take the temperatures of all the local residents and report back to the doctors in New Plymouth.

From handed down family talk, we hear that on Sundays a meal would be prepared for up to 30 people, all at the same large table. Travellers would be welcomed, even the crew of the Gairloch stayed after their ship ran aground.

Will’s niece from his double cousins side, Dorothy McLean, quoted in 1977:

Uncle Will…a great racing man, but neglected his farm in favour of racing; it was run by Newton Kings who divided it amongst his sons when he died.

If Walls Could Talk … Succession, 2019


In 1932 William died suddenly at the age of 60. Ethel continued to live in the homestead for another eight years. Then the 223 hectares owned at the time was formally divided into four farms for the four oldest sons.

Rex became the owner of 42.5 hectares originally held by the Morgan brothers in the 1850’s. He sold that land in 1943 and moved to Morrinsville where he farmed for awhile. Rex returned to Taranaki and farmed at Inglewood before retiring to New Plymouth.

The original block of approximately 197.5 hectares was surveyed with three new titles created. The new titles were transferred in February 1940 to Eric, Ken and Jim. Although recorded as an inheritance, all four sones needed external finance to make the farm transactions happen. Jim got the farm that included the Honeyfield Homestead, with Ken farming up the road in one of the new houses.

Incidentally, Eric, Ken and Jim continued their fathers love and involvement with race horses. Rex was also interested in race horses but to a lesser degree.

Ethel retained a life time interest in the four farms and retired to New Plymouth where she lived for many years in St Aubyn St, much loved by her children, grand-children and great-grand children. Her daughter, Clarice, looked after her for many years. Her interests, apart from family, were gardening, knitting, crochet and playing cards.

In February 1972, as the oldest parishioner, Ethel had the honour of cutting the Jubilee cake at the St. Paul’s Church, Okato, 75th anniversary. For 25 years she had been the organist at St. Paul’s.

At the age of 96, she was quoted in a newspaper report as saying;

I’m just the same – only my legs won’t go but I’ve got all my senses. I’m very lucky, really.

At the age of 98 Ethel was a resident at Omahanui Home in New Plymouth and was recorded at that time as having 29 grandchildren, 93 great grandchildren and nine great great grandchildren.

Ethel was a good Christian woman who took a great deal of interest in the district and the people around her. She died at the age of 98 on 24th February 1974, 42 years after William, and is buried in the Okato Cemetery.

Ethel and her grandchildren, about 1939
From back row, girls with married names: Eunice Fleming (Eric’s daughter), June Wilson (Rex’s daughter),unknown family friend, Lola (Rex’s daughter), Morris (Bun, Eric’s son), Grandma, Alan Fox (Rene’s son), Shirley (Rex’s daughter), Lois Williams (with head down, Eric’s daughter), Nona Heydon (Rene’s daughter), David (Rex’s son), Wilma Roberts (Ken’s daughter), Jim Fox (Rene’s son), Baby John (Ken’s son) Miriim Dixon (Jim’s daughter), Lindsay Woolridge (Lina’s son), Valarie Fleming (Eric’s daughter), Peter (Ken’s son). Source: John Honeyfield

In the words of their great-grandson, Kevin Honeyfield (extract from Honeyfield reunion bus tour notes):

Ethel Morris, or Grandma Honeyfield as she was known to some … became a very important member of the Honeyfield family. She was married to one of Dicky Barrett’s grandchildren, but outlived all of Dicky and Rawinia’s grandchildren, which left her as a trustee to close off all the loose ends of the Barrett Reserve legacy farms. Ethel also outlived six of her nine children, with just Clarice, Ada and Montague (Monty) surviving her.

Apparently at the age of 60, after her husband died, Grandma Honeyfield decided she needed a car, learnt to drive and rumour has it that she became very forthright and exciting in her driving habits. Grandma Honeyfield’s 1936 Dodge is now owned by Ash Heydon, proprietor of the Oakura garage. His wife Nona was one of Ethel’s grandkids.

The Honeyfields [William and Ethel] became very instrumental in developing dairying in the area [Tataraimaka]. William was the first chairman of Tataraimaka Cooperative Dairy Factory, and he remained chair till his death 18 years later. The co-operative factory was preceded by private dairy companies that James Honeyfield had developed.

Not many people recognise the Tataraimaka corners with the name ‘ghost valley’. The corners have been notorious for spin outs. The first ever car crash in Tataraimaka was by another of James’s daughter-in-laws … Charlie, the youngest son, bought his wife an Edsal, one of the first cars in the district. When she spun out at the Tatra corners she claimed a ghost had jumped out in front of her and hence the old name Ghost Valley. Actually, cars and Charlie didn’t really mix. Later on Charlie and his family moved up to Te Awamutu and Charlie was killed in a freak car explosion.

Battle of Waireka, 1860

Updated 17 September 2019

By February 1860, mounting tensions arising from the sale of a 240 hectare block of land at Waitara led to Governor Gore Browne declaring martial law in Taranaki, and shortly after a military assault on Te Ati Awa rangatira Wiremu Kingi and his people commenced.

The following is an account of some of the consequences for the Honeyfield siblings.

More than 200 farms were burnt or plundered by Māori over the ensuing 12 month period of hostilities, including John and Harriet Newman’s farm house in Omata. Harriet was eight months pregnant with her 5th child.

John Newman and James Honeyfield became members of the newly formed Taranaki Rifle Volunteers. On 28th March 1860 a force of 56 Taranaki Militia and 103 Taranaki Rifle Volunteers set out to bring settlers back to safety in New Plymouth. Each man had only 30 rounds of ammunition. Edmund Honeyfield, although not part of the militia, was likely to have been alongside his brother James and brother-in-law John.

A contingent of regular army had also been despatched inland towards the Omata Stockade, but had been given strict orders to be home by dark.

At Waireka the Taranaki Rifle Volunteers and Taranaki Militia became the first colonial volunteer units to take the field against Māori at the Battle of Waireka. The Maori antagonists were mainly warriors from the Taranaki, Ngati-Ruanui and Nga-Reuru iwi of the west coast, south of New Plymouth and just south of Te Ati Awa territory.

Kevin Honeyfield gave the following account of the Battle of Waireka on a bus tour during the Honeyfield reunion in March 2015:

Anxiety was high in town, especially when gun fire could be heard from the direction of where the volunteers and militia headed.

They had come across a large number of hostile, heavily armed Māori who attacked the militia with all they had.

The regular army heard the gunfire and from the Omata Stockade, marched to 700 metres from the Māori aggressors, launching long range missile fire to assist the militia. However, with orders to be home by dark they sounded the retreat horn and left the militia and volunteers to battle alone.

The militia where down to one round of ammunition each, and as day was turning to night, with no backup from the regular army, they expected a charge from the Māori at any time … their only defence would be bayonets against the still heavily armed Maori.

The militia were not in a position to retreat, for they had dead and wounded amongst them and rough terrain to navigate.

Suddenly, from a short distance away, they heard more gunshot and yelling followed by victory cries as the Māori flags came down.

Tired and with little ammunition, the militia did not advance to join the assault on the Pa, instead carrying their wounded and dead, made their way cross country to the Omata Stockade in darkness. It was there they learned that a 60 strong contingent of naval marines had stormed the Pa and dealt with all the enemy that did not flee.

Back in town, at Marsland Hill and St Marys Church, spare a thought for eight months pregnant Harriett Matilda. Her husband and brothers went to try and bring back other settlers to safety, they were not looking for a full on engagement with the enemy. She could hear the battle, but knew no detail of what was happening.

The regular soldiers arrived back at dark as ordered … telling the families how they left the militia trapped and under heavy fire. Dismay and disbelief followed, then some hours later the naval marines arrived, carrying the Maori flags and claiming victory – but they were unaware of the wellbeing of the militia. It was after midnight when the militia finally got into town and the families found out who the casualties were and who was safe.

It is probable to say that if the naval marines had not shown up, the battle of Waireka would have had a completely different outcome, and there would be no Tataraimaka or Patea Honeyfields alive today, as James and Edmund would have likely perished as single men 155 years ago today.

After the battle, many women and children were transported to Nelson. John also relocated his family to Nelson and became a publican for a few years before he and Harriet Matilda returned to their Omata farm when the unrest had settled.

Battle of Waireka

An impressive flag was awarded to the Taranaki Rifle Volunteers in 1861. A memorial stands in the grounds of St Mary’s Cathedral Church, New Plymouth, recording the names of 11 Taranaki Militia and 10 Taranaki Rifle Volunteers who were killed in action between 1860 and 1866.