Hohepa (Hepa) Taepa

Te Arawa

1917 - 1974

Hepa Taepa was born in Rotorua and educated in Rotorua primary schools and at Te Aute College. He continued his studies at St John’s Theological College, Auckland, was ordained a Deacon at St Matthew’s Church, Masterton on 30 November 1939 and was priested at St Paul’s Church, Wellington on 22 December 1940. Taepa was Pastor of the Wellington-Wairarapa Māori Pastorate from 1943-1951. In June 1945 he married Laura Black and they had eight children. He was Pastor-in-charge of Rangiatea Church, Otaki, from 1952-1957 and from 1963-1966. He pastored St Paul’s Church, Wanganui (Putiki) from 1958-1962 and was Pastor of the Wellington Māori Pastorate from 1967-1974. Taepa was made an Honorary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral on 4 June 1958. In 1956, Taepa and District Māori Welfare Officer Moana Raureti gave a report to the National Council of Churches’ Māori division at Ruatoki concerning an extensive survey of the Māori Borstal population. Taepa wrote many articles in Māori and English and gave talks on Māori History at Victoria University of Wellington. Taepa represented Māori people as a member of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. He died in 1974 and was buried at St Faith’s Church.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Laura Taepa: 19 Feb. and 25 Mar. 1998, and 17 Sept. 2004.


  • The Rangiatea Story. [Levin, N.Z.: Printed by Kerslake, Billens & Humphrey, 1966].
  • Taepa presents a history of Rangiatea Church, Otaki, and discusses the church’s connection with Hawaiki, and provides a history of Christian missions amongst Horowhenua Māori. He retells the story of Tarore and her Gospel of St Luke and describes the journey north of Tamihana Te Rauparaha and Matene Te Whiwhi to seek a missionary for Otaki. Taepa notes the enormous impact of Octavius Hadfield and gives biographies of local Māori connected with Rangiatea Church including Te Rauparaha, Matenga Te Matia, Riwai Te Ahu, Pineha Mahauariki, and Aperahama Te Ruru. He lists the Rangiatea pastors and writes detailed architectural notes of the church and its Māori taonga.
  • "The Māori Bible." Te Kaunihera Māori: New Zealand Māori Council Newsletter 5.3 (1968): 7.
  • Taepa writes that a century has passed since the printing of the first Māori Bible and pays tribute to the early missionaries, Maunsell, Colenso and the Williams family for their work in translating the Bible into Māori. He acknowledges the British and Foreign Bible Society and Māoridom in general for providing finances for the revision of the Bible.
  • "He Whakawhitiwhitinga. Nā Te Ford Foundation/The Ford Foundation Exchange." Te Ao Hou 67 (1969): 4+.
  • In 1969 the American Ford Foundation coordinated and sponsored ten Māori to visit Native American reserves over a four-week period while nine Native Americans were making a reciprocal visit to New Zealand. Hohepa Taepa gives a very detailed account in Māori and English of the trip to the United States.
  • "He Aha Oti I Te Ingoa Māori: What’s In A Māori Name?" Te Ao Hou 71 (1973): 7-17.
  • Taepa gives a comprehensive response in Māori and English to the question: ‘What’s in a Māori name?’ by speaking of the importance of correct pronunciation and by noting the richness of meaning in Māori names.
  • Other

  • "Waikato Taniwha-Rau." Apirana Ngata. Te Pipiwharauroa, He Kupu Whakamarama 32 (1900): 8-9. In Māori. "Waikato Taniwha-Rau." Te Pipiwharauroa, He Kupu Whakamarama 33 (1900): 2. Rpt. as "Waikato of a Hundred Taniwhas." In Māori with English translation in Te Ao Hou 17 (1956): 15-18. Rpt. in Māori and English in Countless Signs: The New Zealand Landscape In Literature. Comp. Trudie McNaughton. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed Methuen, 1986. 90-92.
  • This is the first part of a report published by Apirana Ngata in Te Pipiwharauroa after his two month tour of the Waikato in 1900. He explains the meaning of the saying ‘Waikato of a hundred taniwha, a taniwha at every bend’ and describes the geography of the Waikato Plains. He gives an account of the King Movement and observes that ‘the movement can be an instrument for the uniting of all tribes, as it has been to the Waikato since the days of Potatau.’
  • "Waikato Taniwha-Rau." Apirana Ngata. Te Pipiwharauroa, He Kupu Whakamarama 34 (Tihema [December] 1900): 4-5. Rpt. as "Waikato Taniwharau." In Māori with English trans. Rev Hohepa Taepa. Te Ao Hou 18 (1957): 18-21.
  • This second part of Ngata’s Te Pipiwharauroa article on the Waikato is divided under the following headings: King Mahuta, Te Kauhanganui, the people, the means of livelihood and the faith. Ngata encourages Waikato to venture outside their boundary that they may ‘observe and listen’ and permit into their domain sound outside opinion. Ngata worries about the diminishing population in the region, he marvels at how the people of the Waikato sustain themselves despite the ‘predicament of being landless’, and, quoting Archdeacon Te Karaka, asks where are the fruits that ‘show the Church’s progress’ in the region?
  • "Hoani Wiremu Hipango." Hoani Wiremu Hipango. Te Wharekura 16. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer, 1969. 2-16.


  • "Canon Hepa Taepa On Historic Trust." Te Māori: The Official Journal of the New Zealand Māori Council 3.1 (1972?): 25.
  • Very brief announcement on his reappointment to the NZ Historic Places Trust.