Henry Tahawai Bird

Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Manawa, Tūhourangi

1913 - 1990

Henry Bird was born in Rotorua and was educated at Whakarewarewa Primary School and Te Aute College. He was in the first echelon of the B Company of the Māori Battalion that went to World War 2 in 1939 and served in the Middle East, Greece and Crete. He attained the rank of sergeant. After the war, he worked as a taxi driver and as a draughtsman in the Murupara area and was also involved in the logging industry. He later worked in the Malleable Castings Foundry in Wellington. Bird married Cecilia Mihiarangi Phillips and they had nine children. He was chair of the Southern Tuhoe Executive, chaired the Ngāti Manawa Corporation and the Ngāti Hui Marae committee. He was a recognised leader of Ngāti Manawa and Tuhourangi and was awarded the QSM for services to the community. Bird wrote a book on the history of Ngāti Manawa, Kuranui, for the opening of the dining room at the Rangatahi Marae, Murupara in 1979.

Biographical sources

  • Phone conversation with Bill Bird, 14 June 1998.


  • Kuranui-O Ngāti Manawa. [Rotorua], N.Z.: H. T. Bird, 1980.
  • A history of the Ngāti Manawa subtribes—Ngāti Hui, Ngāi Tokowaru and Ngāti Koro—and an account of the building of a new Kuranui Wharekai in 1978 which replaced the earlier one constructed in 1935. Bird provides other aspects of local tribal history and Pakeha settlement of the Murupara Galatea district. He provides a Roll of Honour for local people killed in the two World Wars and discusses the Ngāti Manawa Land Development Scheme. Bird presents whakapapa tables of Ngāti Manawa Kia Tangiharuru. This publication was written to celebrate the opening of the Kuranui dining room at the Rangatahi Marae in Murupara in 1979.
  • "Kaumatua Kōrero." Tu Tangata 30 (1986): 25.
  • Bird writes a poroporoaki to Ruka Broughton in Māori and also makes a short statement on the Anglican choice of Archbishop of Aotearoa and his displeasure that Whakahuihui Vercoe was overlooked for this position.
  • "Nga Tuhituhi." Tu Tangata 35 (1987): 7.
  • Co-authors Henry Bird and Bill Waiwai. Bird and Waiwai write to express their disappointment that no government recognition was given to "the epic voyage" of Mr Brightwell and four crew members who sailed from Tahiti to Aotearoa.
  • Other

  • Tu Tangata 16 (1984): 20-21.
  • Bird responds to various statements made by Olly Ohlson in an article entitled "Olly Ohlson - after school’s out." Tu Tangata 13 (1983): 2-3.
  • Tu Tangata 30 (1986): 64.
  • Bird addresses protest directed toward a South African girl attending the Waiariki Community College and states that as a manuhiri "both Māori and Pakeha, should respect her and entertain her at our homes."