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Accession No 1956.120
Name/Title ARCHIVES; Royal Warrant conferring Order of the British Empire upon Pura McGregor
Brief Description This Royal Warrant confers The Order of the British Empire upon Pura McGregor, 03 June 1919. Awarded by King George V, and signed by Edward Prince of Wales, the warrant confers membership of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire. It is printed on high quality foolscap paper with the royal impress, being a quarto size folded in half.

Te Pura Manihera was born in 1855 at Karatia Pā on the Whanganui River to Hohi Hōri Kīngi and Te Manihera. Her father Te Manihera, was a rangatira of Ngā Poutama at Matahiwi Pā, and of Karatia – which was on the western bank of the awa, almost opposite Moutoa Island. Her mother is of Ngāti Rangi and Ngāti Ruaka. Pura was still young when her father died. After a time her mother married Stewart Manson who had store at Rānana, Pipiriki, Murimotu and Whanganui.

Her grace and ability when performing haka and waiata was well known, and her vigour when leading haka caught the attention of his uncle, Te Rangihiwinui Te Kēpa, aka Major Kemp. She was one of six young women who were chosen by him to accompany him on various campaigns, to lead haka to incite the men to fight.

As a girl of about 13 years old in 1868-69, she accompanied Te Rangihiwinui and his kūpapa, the Māori soldiers who supported the Government, into battle. This particular campaign was to pursue the famed warrior and prophet Te Kooti who had successfully evaded the British Imperial and local militia troops. She fearlessly climbed a tree, as the bullets flew about her, to hoist the Union Jack to rally the men. Pura was assigned the honour of leading the haka of victory after battle. She was recommended for the New Zealand War Medal, but being a female, the recommendation was turned down.

Pura was twenty two when her grace and beauty caught the eye of nineteen year old Gregor McGregor, who was born in 1858 at Whanganui. His father, Gregor McGregor, born 1818, came from North Uist in the Islands of the Outer Hebrides, sailing in the “Blenheim” with his wife, Catherine, the daughter of Duncan Fraser. They reached Aotearoa in 1840, and by 1855 had purchased and began farming the Aird property at Fordell.

Catherine McGreogor did not approve of the alliance between her son and the Māori girl, and when she heard that they were to be married at the Registry Office, she put a stop to it. However, it merely postponed the event, because on the day Gregor turned twenty one he married the beautiful Pura Manihera.

Gregor had been a clerk in the Wanganui Post Office, but after their marriage he took up a position looking after his father-in-law Stewart Manson’s stores at Rānana and Murimotu. Pura became known as Pura Makarika after marriage.

Their first child, Gregor, was known as Gig. He became a chemist and lived in Eltham, where he married Mary Brennan.

Their second child, named Rāwinia, died before reaching womanhood.

The third child, George Stewart, married Maata (Martha) Mahupuka (1890–1952), at St Luke’s Church, Greytown, on December 1907. Maata, a Ngāti Kahungunu woman of mana, who through her friendship with Katherine Mansfield, become known in literary circles of Aotearoa. For a time George and Martha lived in Whanganui where their son Richard was born. Within a few years they had moved to Greytown where two daughters were born: Te Huiaakaka and Te Rereomaki, but in 1914 thier marriage ended.

George then married Kathleen Burnett of Dunedin, a granddaughter of Alexander Alexander, who was the first white trader at Napier.

Catherine McGregor received the grandchildren when Gregor took them to see her, but she refused to recognise her daughter-in-law Pura, even refusing to speak to Pura until about three weeks before her death.

Gregor became the first manager of the large Māori owned and operated Mōrikau Station at Rānana, and he also managed Bushy Park for a period. Pura, however, lived most of her married life at their town house, Te Mawhae, 129 Harrison St, Whanganui. It was a large residence standing in spacious grounds wherein she built a cottage for the gardener.

During World War I Pura Te Manihera worked hard to raise money for the Beautifying Society and for patriotic causes. One such carnival raised £66,000 in ten days. A Queen Carnival was held as a fundraising campaign for local soldiers where votes were made through monetary contributions. On more than one occasion Pura was crowned Carnival Queen, and even Māori Queen of the Carnival.

Pura was always active in her community, joining in on tree planting expeditions and other landscaping. She helped raise funds for the development of Roto Kawau (Virginia Lake) and was instrumental in enlisting the help of local and upriver Māori in the work of the Wanganui Beautifying Society of which she was a member.

Shortly before her death she was honoured with the OBE for her untiring work, the first Māori woman to receive the decoration. The OBE says: “George the Fifth, by the Grace of/God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain/and Ireland, and of the British Dominions/beyond the Seas, King Defender of the/Faith, Emperor of India and Sovereign of/the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to Our trusty and well beloved/.Pura McGregor/NEW PARAGRAPH/Greeting whereas We have thought/fit to nominate and appoint you to be/a Member/of the Civil Division of Our said Most/Excellent Order of the British Empire,/We do by these presents grant unto you/ NEW PARAGRAPH/ Grant of the dignity of a Member/of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire/to Pura Mrs McGregor”

After her death in 1920, at the initiative of Whanganui Māori, a memorial waka overlooking Roto Kawau was installed as a memorial to Pura in 1921. It was erected on the old marae of the Toronui Pā, which at one time occupied the far end of Roto Kawau. This Whakamaumaharatanga, Tiki or memorial was a half hull of a tōtara waka, painted with a white and red kōwhaiwhai design. The plaque at the base bore the following inscription in large letters, “This Tiki is erected to the memory of Mrs Pura McGregor/E whakaturia tenei Tiki hei whakamahara Pura Makarika”. Another plaque, with a smaller writing, was later installed a third of the memorial height from the ground. It was a significant landmark for nearly 70 years until it eventually fell and broke and was finally removed in 1988.
Classification Announcement, Award/Documentary Artifact/Communication Artifacts/Nomenclature
Primary Prod Date 03 Jun 1919
Primary Prod Period 20th century
Primary Prod Place Britain
Measurement Reading 20.5 x 33cm
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