IWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS
A notable individual, Ruka Aratapu was said to have had cool
courage in battle. Aratapu was Major Ropata Wahawaha's right hand man
in pursuits against Te Kooti and his rebels,1 and he was renowned for his
abilities in hand-to-hand combat. For his services he was awarded
the New Zealand war medal.
Aratapu made the headlines in 1889 after spending two days at
sea without water. He went out fishing and a gale came up which
caused him to be blown out to sea in a 12ft boat. He eventually
steered himself back in the direction of land and survived his
ordeal by eating raw crayfish.2
Aratapu's signature is the fourth written in the Lindauer Art
Gallery's Māori Visitors' Book. He visited the gallery in
Auckland on 3 June 1901 with a group from Poverty Bay, just three
years before his death. Aratapu died in 1904 and was given a full
military funeral and buried at Kaiti in Poverty Bay. His tangihanga was attended by Hon.
James Carroll and Wi Pere, M.H.R., Judge Jones, and Major C. D.
Pitt. Little is known of his personal life and Ruka is a baptismal
name, for it is the Māorified version of Luke.
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