Te Paea Hinerangi


Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāpuhi (1830-34 – 1911)

Iwi map - Te Paea HinerangiIWI / HAPU AFFILIATIONS

Te Paea Hinerangi was a famous guide in the Rotorua thermal area from the 1870s on.  It is said that she saw a 'phantom canoe' foretelling the eruption of Mount Tarawera in the week before it happened in 1886.1

Te Paea (Sophia) was the daughter of Kotiro Hinerangi (Ngāti Ruanui) and Scotsman Alexander Grey (Gray).  Born in Kororareka (Russell), she was the fourth of five children.  Te Paea married twice, firstly to Koroneho Tehakiroe (Ngāpuhi) with whom she is said to have had 14 children, and secondly in about 1870 to Hori Taiawhio with whom she had a further three children.2

Te Paea relocated from the Bay of Islands to the village of Te Wairoa, on the shores of Lake Tarawera soon after the time of her second marriage. Here she became known as Guide Sophia.  She was bilingual and was a tourist guide for 16 years before the famous volcanic eruption that wiped out the renowned silica Terraces.3 Though a photograph exists of her partially-buried whare she was celebrated for her kindness in sheltering over 60 others in it.

After the devastation at Te Wairoa all the survivors of the eruption including Te Paea and her family relocated to Rotorua's main thermal attraction, Whakarewarewa.  In 1896, when her portrait was painted by Lindauer she was appointed guide to the thermal reserve there.

In this portrait Te Paea wears a heitiki that is likely to have been her own (rather than the painter's) as it is a female form and appears in other photographs of her.



  1. Eileen McSaveney, Carol Stewart and Graham Leonard, 'Historic volcanic activity - Tarawera', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 2 March 2009, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/historic-volcanic-activity/2, accessed 2 March 2010.
  2. Curnow, Jenifer. ‘Hinerangi, Sophia 1830-1834? – 1911’, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007, Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 22 June 2007, accessed 4 March 2010.
  3. For more information on the Tarawera eruption, view clips from the Richard Riddiford television documentary Tarawera, Messenger Films Ltd, 2000, NZ On Screen, accessed 2 March 2010.
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  • Ruth Nuku-Stanshall - Kanihi Umutahi, Nga Ruahinerangi

    At 5pm on 7 May 2014

    I am a descendant of Sophia from her second marriage to Hori Taiawhio and was privileged and humble to be on the series "Behind the Brush' episode 4. Many thanks to Lindauer for painting this portrait of her. I am currently writing my Masters around Guide Sophia and another hei tiki that has been given to me belonging to her but in there I am correcting her tribal affiliation which is Taranaki te maunga Aotea te waka Kanihi Umutahi te marae Nga Ruahinerangi te Iwi This is in South Taranaki. It is not Ngati Ruanui from North neither from South Taranaki The link to Ngati Ruanui is through Aotea waka but clearly her whakapapa is Nga Ruahinerangi

  • Henare Mihaere - Whakatohea

    At 7pm on 30 October 2013

    The heitiki in this portrait was worn by my mother for 10 years before it was once again passed on. The other pounamu that she is seen wearing in other portraits and photographs was passed down to me although I have not yet felt ready to wear it.

  • Barry Rigby - Pakeha

    At 10am on 4 November 2012

    James Cowan in his 1920s book 'The New Zealand Wars' refers to Te Paea's mother, Kotiro, as provoking Hone Heke at Kororareka during the lead up to the Northern War of 1845-1846. She was then living with a Pakeha trader named Lord (not Te Paea's father). Lord had to compensate Heke for Kotiro's insult, but he tried to short-change Heke with half, instead of a full, cask of tobacco. Heke was, as James Belich put it in another similar incident, 'wrath'. He was 'wrath indeed!'

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