Henipapa was another daughter of the Ngāti Whātua Chief, Mohi Te Hokaanga Minarapa II, but a product of one of his other wives Wetekia, who was from the (Te) Rarawa tribe with links to the Southern Kaipara and Waikato areas. It is understood she was born about 1823 (No birth records available).
Another version of the origins of Henipapa has been passed down through Henare Stanaway’s family. It is that Henipapa was the last remaining member of a tribe from a maori battle fought in the Waikato area. She was about 4 years old and found in the hollow of a tree, her entire tribe had been wiped out . She was taken to live with the northern tribe who had decimated her tribe. She was supposed to be the daughter of the maori chief from the Waikato.
Not much is known of Henipapa’s early life but it would be expected that it was similar to other Maori children of that time period.
She may or may not have had some teaching in English from the local missionaries, we could only assume that she and John would have communicated through a mixture of English and Maori to the extent that each had picked up.
John and Henipapa would have met through John’s association with her half-sister. Witaparene dies about 1844. It is understood that Henipapa help Witaparene with the children and housework in general, again this may indicate that Witaparene may not have been very well.
Henipapa had five children with John, Irahapeti (Elizabeth) Rihi Tanap 1845, Ihapere (Isabella) 1847, Kataraina Te Rimi (Katherine or Kitty) 1848, Henare (Henry Joseph) 1850, and Ngati Hemi (James or Jimmy) 1852.
We find from Henare’s death certificate that Henipapa’s English name was Jane, and that her maiden name was “Unknown”, this would have been the information that Henare’s son Joseph Patrick would have known.
The living arrangements again we are unsure of but Isabella and Henry decide that they no longer wanted to live with their mothers tribe on the west side of the Northern Wairoa River and swam across to live with their father.
From this we could only assume that Henipapa and the children did not live with John, but that Henipapa may have provided domestic duties for John.
At what point this arrangement stopped we do not know, maybe in and around the birth of their last child in 1852-1853 (by 1861 John marries Sarah Ann Clark). Also around this time John’s first daughter Mary Ann would have been about 13 years old and may have taken over the running of John’s home.
This may account for the confusion in Ada Clark’s account, when she understood that Mary was one of John’s children from Witaparene, especially if Mary and William were living with their father in Tokatoka.
We currently have no record of Henipapa’s life until a note which stated that she was looked after by Erina Samuels her granddaughter, in her later days until her death in 1905 in Dargaville.
Postscript – It is only speculation but it may have been an arrangement for John to swap Witaparene for Henipapa due to some fall out between John and Witaparene sometime around 1844 – 1845. I cannot confirm but Witaparene may not have died, but was also looked after by her niece, Erina Samuels until her death also in 1905.