Hemanawa (Mana) Pihama née Matenga

1931 -

Hemanawa Pihama was born in Taumarunui and was educated at Okahukura School, Tahora School, Taumarunui Primary School, Taumarunui High School and Turakina Māori Girls’ College. She worked as a toll operator from She married David Te Iwi Turoa Pihama in 1950 and had two children. Hemanawa was a restaurant cook in Taumarunui from 1976-78 and worked on the family farm at Taringamotu Valley from 1979-84 after the death of her husband in 1978. She was an Honorary Field Worker at Waikune Prison from 1985-86 and became Caretaker and Administrator for the Inmates Visitor Home in National Park. Hemanawa also worked at Rangipo and Hautu Prisons. Since February 1987, she has been a voluntary worker and visitor for the Prison Institution of Turangi-Taupo; she continues to do this work at Turangi and Ohura. She has been a member of Nga Hapu Awhina Incorporated Turangi since 1987; she arranged their access into the prisons where they run weekly Bible classes, church services and assist in work parole, home leave and visits. She was a member of the Turangi District Whanau from 1987-89 and part of the Tongariro Community Organisation Grants Scheme from In the early 1990s she worked in the Auckland City Mission. She was a Matron at the Emergency Home in Turangi from 1994 and now lives in her home town of Taumarunui. Hemanawa was a member of the Turangi Māori Women’s Welfare League from 1963-1998 and was made a Life Member. She has been a trustee of Te Koura Marae since 1950. She has published one non-fiction article but has written many other poems and stories which are unpublished.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence and phone conversation with Mana Pihama 9 Feb and 19 May, 1998.
  • Pihama, Hemanawa. "A Trip TO Wonderland." Tu Tangata 28 (1986): 26-27.


  • "A trip to wonderland." Tu Tangata 28 (1986): 26-27.
  • Pihama writes a descriptive account of her impressions driving down the windy road to Pipiriki and on to Jerusalem where she attended a hui.