Heni Brown

Ngāi Tai

1919 -

Heni was born in Torere and educated at Torere Native School from After leaving school she entered into an arranged marriage with Ned Brown in the late 1930s and lived at Mangatu and later at Whatatutu.

Biographical sources

  • Binney, Judith and Gillian Chaplain ed. Ngā Mōrehu/The Survivors. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford UP, 1986. 32-51.


  • "Heni Brown." Ngā Mōrehu/The Survivors. Ed. Judith Binney and Gillian Chaplain. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford UP, 1986. 32-51.
  • This narrative is taken from four taped conversations between February 1982 and 3 January 1985 at the home of Ned and Heni Brown at Whatatutu and at the pa at Mangatu. Heni Brown was raised by her great-grandmother, Meri Puru, who was a committed follower of Te Kooti and was transported to the Chatham Islands with Te Kooti. Brown tells of her early experiences with Ringatu, the miraculous healings she witnessed, and the impact of Ringatu clairvoyants in her life. Brown was raised as a puhi and when she turned fifteen, Meri Puru chose Ned Brown to be Heni’s husband. Heni speaks of her married life with Ned, the raising of their children and her deep respect for the tapu nature of her great-grandmother.