Arihia (Butty) Goldsmith née Wehipeihana

Ngāti Raukawa

1911 - 2002

Arihia Wehipeihana was born in Ohau, the seventh of nine children born to Ani Richardson and Tumeke Wehipeihana. Arihia was raised on the family farm at Kuku Ohau, and because Tumeke believed in the importance of a good education, Arihia was sent to Ohau Primary School and Levin High School. After passing her matriculation she worked for the Levin newspaper. When Arihia was eighteen, her sister Mirika asked if Arihia would help with her work as a District nurse on the East Coast, and Arihia moved to the East Coast. Ann Stephens, Arihia’s daughter, writes of this time: "Mum would keep the clinic clean, do housework, cooking and making cups of tea for the doctors…Mum accompanied Mirika on some of her visits, many on horseback and crossing the Waiapu River. Men who knew where it was safe to cross would guide Mum and Mirika across the river safely. Dad was one of these men and this was how Mum and Dad met. They married in Rangiatea Church in Otaki on 22 December 1938." The couple initially lived in Tikitiki and Ruatoria and had two sons and a daughter. Arihia managed the household while her husband was away during the Second World War. She subsequently worked in a bookshop, road services, a grocery store and a biscuit factory. In 1970 the family moved to Wanganui and later Whangarei with Mr Goldsmith’s Māori Welfare Work. The couple eventually retired to Gisborne where Arihia enjoyed gardening and playing bowls. Arihia and her brother Hare Hemi Wehipeihana were interviewed by Bridget Williams about their sister Mirika Wehipeihana for the publication The Book of New Zealand Women - Ko Kui Ma Te Kaupapa.

Biographical sources

  • Email correspondence from Ann Stephens 19 May and 7 November 2004.


  • "Mirika Powhirihau Wehipeihana." The Book of New Zealand Women - Ko Kui Ma Te Kaupapa. Ed. Charlotte Macdonald, Merimeri Penfold and Bridget Williams. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams, 1991: 715-719.
  • Butty Goldsmith and her brother Hare Hemi Wehipeihana provide an oral account of their sister, Mirika Wehipeihana, who trained at the Waikato School of Nursing in the early 1920s and completed postgraduate midwifery studies at St Helen’s Hospital in Wellington in 1925. Mirika became district nurse in the East Coast area working alongside Apirana Ngata to create a community health education programme. After further study in the area of tuberculosis prevention and treatment, she became tuberculosis control nurse in the Waiapu County and developed a system of treating Māori patients in environments not totally removed from their own communities. This system was later employed by the Health Department; Mirika was awarded an MBE in 1947 for her valuable contribution in tuberculosis prevention. Hare Wehipeihana and Butty Goldsmith share stories of her nursing methodology, strong character and virtual adoption by the Ngāti Porou people.


  • Cooney, Bernadette. "Siblings Reunite and Share Memories." Chronicle (Levin) 5 Mar. 2002: 3.
  • About Hare Hemi (Windy) Wehipeihana and his sister Arihia Goldsmith nee Wehipeihana.