Mrs Hector McBain, wearing the piece of pounamu circa 1960

We received an e-mail from a Hazel Fletcher who says:

“I came upon your recent article ‘Remembering Tom Parata’ while I was trying to find out more about  a piece of pounamu that my mother says was given to my great grandfather Alex McBain, by Sissy Parata from Waikanae, whose father was an MP.

“[The above] is a picture of my grandmother Mrs Hector McBain, wearing the piece of pounamu.

“Alex McBain died in 1933.

“Are you able to find out whether Sissy was the daughter of Tom, or another Parata who was an MP?”

Karl Webber tells us:

“I’m pretty sure Sissy will be my Dad’s Grandmother Utauta Parata, she was the youngest of Te Kakakura Wi Parata, It looks similar to another one of Utauta. Utauta married Hona Webber, he was the son of Heneti Tahiwi, their 5 kids are the Kapiti Island whanau groups now, the eldest was Tukumaru, my Grandfather.”

Hazel added in response to this:

“That she married Heneti Tahiwi is interesting as my grandfather Hector McBain also knew a Henare Tahiwi in the 1930’s, who I believe was a brother of Kingi Tahiwi, but that may also need verifying.

“My mother said Henare and friends would occasionally come to their home on Knights Rd and would sing and play guitar.

“My great grandfather Alex McBain taught at Manakau school from 1903 until he became Headmaster of Eastern Hutt Primary in 1915.

“When he died in 1933 there were some wonderful tributes paid to him, like this one:

A Tribute to the Memory of the Late Mr. A. McBain by the Maori Race which was signed at the end by Kingi Tahiwi* for N’Raukawa, N’Tukorehe, N’Wehiwehi, N’Huia & Muaupoko.

[Ngati Raukawa is the tribal group based at Otaki, Ngati Tukorehe from the Kuka/Ohau area, Ngati Wehiwehi from the Manakau area, Ngati Huia at Te Horo and the Muaupoko of Levin.]  

“We, members of the several Maori sub-tribes undermentioned and resident in the Horowhenua District, are sorrowful and sad of heart because you have departed from us this day. O McBain farewell. Though your earthly person is lost to our view your spirit will remain with us. Depart ye to join the great majority in the land from whose bourne no traveller returns.  You have completed the task set you.  During your life in our midst you gave us an ideal to attain and aspire to. From you and others like you we learned tolerance and fair play. In the social life of the community you were sympathetic and helpful. In sport you taught us to play the game in accordance with the highest tradition of British sportsmanship. On occasions of misunderstandings between our people and your people you were ever a welcome mediator.  Your life amongst us assisted materially in creating a better understanding between the members of the two races residing in our district. We appreciate the work you have done for us.  Depart ye in peace to our ancestors and elders residing in spirit land. Haere ra e koro.”

*The words below were provided by Kingi Tahiwi and are on the A. McBain Memorial Shield which the Hutt and Petone rugby clubs play for each year. 2024 will be the 90th year.

Takarohia te takaro motuhake he takaro’ which means ‘The game for the game’s sake’”