RANKIN - HONE HEKE - 1946 --- 1964
edmondsallan - Hello - " Rankin " could see what was wrong and the worse land was given to him , I suppose to hope his ideas / vision would fail and bring down this no nonsense relative . The lands were of poor quality, being former gumfields, and this project succeeded only after many years when the right combination of fertilisers was discovered. In 1948 he wrote to the minister of rehabilitation, C. F. Skinner, of his 'deep concern that so few Maori ex-servicemen have benefitted from the existing policy of Rehabilitation Land Settlement’. He recommended a change in policy to facilitate the faster acquisition of land. He also asked for the appointment of an officer of the department to watch over the interests of Maori ex-servicemen who had been established in business, many of whom were failing because of lack of training in bookkeeping and accounting.
Rankin's letter caused a tremendous flurry in the Rehabilitation Department and sparked a major review of policy. In 1949 the under-secretary for Maori Affairs, Tipi Tainui Ropiha, convened a conference on the topic, and in July 1949 the Rehabilitation Board decided to appoint an executive sub-committee of the finance committee with Rankin as a member. Rankin demanded that as one of only three Maori involved at the decision-making level, he should be party to all the finance committee’s subcommittees, and to all valuations, fixing of charges and reviews of farming operations of Maori ex-servicemen settled under the board's various schemes. Rankin succeeded in his demands, and continued in this work into the 1950s.
Rankin's work at the national level together with his rangatira status gave him a high profile in his local community, and he figured at many events. In 1947, when the Kaikohe hospital buildings were converted into a technical and agricultural high school (eventually known as Northland College), Rankin was the principal Maori speaker. He had strong support in the local Maori branch of the New Zealand Labour Party and in 1949 made a bid for the nomination of the Northern Maori seat, but the Ratana party had too firm a grasp to be easily dislodged. Over the summer of 1953--54 the young Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, the duke of Edinburgh, toured New Zealand. Plans for Maori receptions were marked by controversy. On 28 December 1953 the royal couple visited Waitangi, which was added to the itinerary only after sustained protest by Maori at its original omission. Hone Heke Rankin had been on the organising committee, and was among the official speakers. He abandoned the two-minute prepared speech that had been released to the media, and instead, spoke for four minutes on the Treaty of Waitangi as 'a statement of the historic and traditional rights of the Maori people’, claiming that it ‘is more than a legal document. It is a moral charter’. He declared his intention to escort the Queen and the duke of Edinburgh to Ngaruawahia to meet his kinsman, the Maori King, Koroki. This was a brief visit the government had been shamed into adding to the itinerary. After this, Rankin declared, he and Koroki would accompany the royal party ‘to the portals of Te Arawa’. Rankin then reverted to the carefully scripted programme, and, investing S. G. Holland, the prime minister, with the title of 'Queen's guardian and protector', he presented him, for the duration of the royal visit, with Te Uira, the highly tapu mere of Hongi Hika.
True to his word, Rankin escorted the royal party to Ngaruawahia on 30 December; when the party was challenged by the throwing down of a carved walking-stick at the gates of the marae, Rankin retrieved it, handing it to Holland who passed it to the Queen. But the controversy was not yet over. Rankin, with Pei Te Hurinui Jones, then escorted Koroki to Rotorua, and is said to have approached Te Arawa chiefs with the suggestion that Koroki be permitted to escort the Queen to the Arawa marae and royal dais. The request was angrily denied. Serious conflict was narrowly averted, and Rankin's words were deemed to have been sufficiently fulfilled in that Koroki stayed at Te Ruato, Rotoiti, not far from the Queen herself.
Rankin continued to be prominent during his last decade. He again played a major role in the 1963 reception for the Queen at Waitangi, though the organisers did not trust the man 'who would not bow to officialdom' to speak. He was made a member of the Te Tii and the Tai Tokerau trust boards and was appointed an OBE; he was also a justice of the peace. Shortly before his death the Tumatauenga meeting house was opened at Otiria by the governor general; Rankin had given it its name and played a large part in the organisation of its building.
" Hone Heke Rankin " died at Whangarei Public Hospital on 16 April 1964, survived by his second wife and 10 children. On the way home, his body lay in state on the Otiria marae, followed by some hours at Ngawha, finally lying at Te Kotahitanga marae, Kaikohe. He was buried at Kaikohe on 19 April, next to his uncle, Hone Heke Ngapua. I tell you fellow readers we have some great people in our extended family . I wonder if you are going to have enough patience to follow it to the end . It shore is covering a lot of knowledge of everything around us , mostly family . What an ancestral hand me on !! .Till we meet again - Regards - edmondsallan