Arthur Te Rangihiwinui (Hiwi) Couch

Ngāi Tahu

1905 - 1993

Arthur Couch was born in Lyttelton the son of George William Arthur Couch and Kiti Paipeta. He was raised in Rapaki and was educated at Rapaki and Lyttelton. He worked for forty years as an officer with the Railways Department; his last position was Stationmaster at Springfield. He married Lyttelton pianist and organist Freda Ruby Foster who died in 1972. In 1981 Couch married Maera Moke, an assistant Deaconess in the Waikato.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Arthur Couch, 11 Nov., 1992.
  • Correspondence from Maera Moeakau Couch, 21 Oct., 1997 and 29 Mar. 2004.


  • "A Character of My Early Youth." Te Ao Hou 75 (1974): 4-6.
  • In this biographical account of Teone Watene, Couch provides a vivid description of a colourful man who was a first-class shearer and a great orator, well-versed in the Bible.
  • "Bird Nesting." Te Ao Hou 75 (1974): 28-29.
  • Couch describes his boyhood experiences of collecting sparrow, thrush, blackbird and finch eggs from bird nests, which he sold for threepence per dozen.
  • Whangaraupo - Lyttelton: Harbour of Yesterday. [Christchurch, N.Z.: Jordan, 1975]
  • The text of three talks to school children with additional material added. In the first address "A Talk to Children of Standards One and Two - October, 1974", Couch discusses his home village and childhood growing up in Rapaki. The second talk entitled "A Talk To a Visiting School - November, 1974" is a brief history of Tamatea Pokai Whenua’s visit to Lyttelton Harbour in the 14th Century and his naming of the harbour Whanga-Raupo. Couch provides an account of the European settlement of Lyttelton in the 1850s and a short history of key buildings in Lyttelton. The final talk is entitled "A Talk to Forms One and Two of the West Lyttelton School On Early History of Lyttelton Harbour and Place Names - October, 1974." Couch writes a Māori history of Lyttelton noting Tamatea’s exploration of the area, the Ngāti Mamoe and Ngai Tahi southern migrations and Te Wheke’s settlement at Rapaki. Couch gives a list of the Māori place names in Lyttelton Harbour and a history of Te Rauparaha’s southern raids and the settlement of Lyttelton.
  • Rapaki Remembered: History and Reminiscence. Lincoln, N.Z.: Te Waihora Press, 1987; Canterbury Māori Studies Association, 1987.
  • A history of Rapaki drawing from childhood memories, anecdotal accounts and Māori traditions. Couch writes of birdnesting, describes the colourful Rapaki resident Teone Watene, and discusses the southern migrations of the Waitaha tribe, Ngāti Mamoe and Ngāi Tahu. He gives descriptions of the Māori place names of the district, examines the events surrounding the retention of the Rapaki Reserve, and writes of his parents George William Arthur Couch and Kiti Paipeta. He also describes other local personalities including Hone Taare Tikao, Te Koti Te Rato, Reihana Tau, Evlyn Alfred Hastings, and Jack Page. He concludes by writing of the Rapaki Church, Hall and School. In the postscript he includes further reminiscences of his older brother, William Couch, and Mrs Robert Gillies, and he provides a map of Māori placenames of Whangaraupo.
  • "Rapaki Remembered: An Extract." Te Karanga: Canterbury Māori Studies Association. 3.1 (1987): 21-23.
  • In this extract Couch recalls his childhood days living in Rapaki, tells of his belief system that accommodates Christianity and Māori spirituality, and recalls other childhood activities around Lyttelton.


  • Hill, Peter. "‘Rapaki Remembered’ Launched." Te Karanga: Canterbury Māori Studies Association. 3.4 (1988): 14-17.
  • Reviews

    Rapaki Remembered
  • McLean, Gavin. "Inprint: In The Regions: Flax Town." Listener 26 Nov. 1988: 81-82.
  • Murray, Jenny. Te Karanga: Canterbury Māori Studies Association 4.1 (1988): 38-39.