Matarena Reneti

Stanley Roche has written: “In the autumn of 1980 I drove to Te Teko, in the Bay of Plenty, in the hope that Matarena Reneti would allow me to record the story of her life. I had heard of Matarena from a colleague of mine, Frank Davis, who is married to Matarena’s niece. Because of her great affection and respect for Frank, Matarena accepted me; for four days she talked of her past life while I listened, asked occasional questions and kept an eye on the tape recorder. Every day before we began, Matarena would pray, in Māori, for our work to be blessed; then she would translate the karakia for me. I too felt that what we were doing together was important and serious, and I hoped I would be adequate in my part in the task.”

Biographical sources

  • Reneti, Matarena. "Of Love and Death: Matarena’s Story (As told to Stanley Roche." Broadsheet 115 (1983): 21.


  • "Of Love and Death: Matarena’s Story (as told to Stanley Roche)" The Summer Book: A New Zealand Miscellany. Comp. Bridget Williams and Roy Parsons. Wellington, N.Z.: Port Nicholson Press, 1982. 76-84. Rpt in Broadsheet 115 (1983): 18-21. Rpt. in A Woman’s Life. Ed. Anne Else and Heather Roberts. Auckland, N.Z.: Penguin, 1989. 259-267.
  • In this taped oral account Matarena recounts her childhood years growing up in a Ringatu household of twenty-six children. After the death of her parents and many of her siblings she was raised by her eldest sister Merepeka. Despite her excellence in primary school, Matarena was prohibited from accepting a scholarship to Victoria College in Auckland because of the family decision that she was to be ‘the secluded one’ and had to be kept within the Church until her arranged marriage. After an unhappy first marriage Matarena remarried and describes her years of childbearing and coping with the death of her children.


  • Erai, Michelle, Fuli, Everdina, Irwin, Kathie and Wilcox, Lenaire. Māori Women: An Annotated Bibliography. [Wellington, N.Z.]: Michelle Erai, Everdina Fuli, Kathie Irwin and Lenaire Wilcox, 1991. 28.