Robert Percival Emery

Ngāti Maniapoto

1908 - 1994

Robert Emery was born in Te Awamutu, the son of Takamai-i-waho Emery and Te Ahurewa Hekiera. He was educated at Mangaorongo, Rangiatea, and Otewa Primary Schools and by correspondence courses. He attended school up to standard six and then continued as a self-taught student who read extensively. In 1928 he married Jane Ormsby. He worked as a labourer and Māori Welfare Officer. He was a member of the Parole Board of the Waikato Area and was a Māori Interpreter in the Courts Section of the Justice Department. After his retirement he was encouraged to become a minister in the Anglican church and he worked as a Minita a Iwi in the Waitomo District. He worked in many community organisations including the Māori War Effort (Second World War), Church Committees, Rotary Club, School Committees, and Tribal Committees. Robert was a trustee of various marae in the Maniapoto Area, was a consultant on Maniapoto Lore, and was a member of the Maniapoto Trust Board. He was a member of the Historic Places Trust Waikato/Maniapoto Area, and was Maniapoto representative for various conferences and Parliamentary delegations. He was a well-known authority on Māori culture in the Maniapoto area and was active in marae throughout Tainui. He wrote for the Waikato Times and worked for the Historical Society. Emery’s son Robert writes: "Our Father wrote articles for the local newspaper, Waitomo News… As with our Mother, his efforts were directed towards the long term benefits of his family and the next generation of Maniapoto and Waikato." Emery assisted in providing background information for contributing writers of the Historic Places magazine. On 30 November 1994 he died at his residence in Te Kuiti. He is buried at Te Tokanganui-a-noho Urupa.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation with Robert Emery and Aroha Greenland, 9 May 1998.
  • Correspondence from Robert Emery, 13 May 1998.


  • "Mr Bill Kohi Of Otorohanga." Te Ao Hou 54 (1966): 4-6.
  • Co-authors Jane and Bob Emery. A biography of World War One veteran William (Bob) Kohi. The authors write of his entry into the military service, his work with budget counselling in Otorohanga and recount various anecdotal stories told by Kohi on his childhood at Waahi Pa, his gum-digging excursions and his working career