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Henare Mokena Kohere

(L-R) 2/Lt Henare Kohere and brother Pte Tawhai Kohere, dep. 206 (1).  Image kindly provided by Kohere whanau (December 2019).Image has no known copyright restictions.

(L-R) 2/Lt Henare Kohere and brother Pte Tawhai Kohere, dep. 206 (1). Image kindly provided by Kohe …


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Henare Mokena AWMM
  • Surname
    Kohere AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    • Hēnāre Kōhere AWMM
    • Henare Mokeua Kohere AWMM
  • Service number
    WWI 16/1018 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    10 March 1880 AWMM Te AraroaGisborne AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
    He was the fourth child of Hone Hiki Kohere and his wife Henarata Pereto (Bristow). Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 February 2016 -
  • Address before enlistment
    WW1 Unknown AWMM Te Araroa, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW1 Reverend P.M. Kohere (trustee), Rangitukia, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status
    • Pre 18 September 1915 AWMM Widowed AWMM
    • 12 April 1905 married Ngarangi Turei, only daughter of Rev Mohi Turei and Kararaina Korimete (Caroline Goldsmith) Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 February 2016 -


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • Battle of the Somme AWMM
    • Egyptian, Egyptian E F & Western European Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 February 2016 - Military Record
  • Armed force / branch
    • Army AWMM
    • NZ Territorials & 2nd Maori Pioneer Contingent Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 February 2016 - Military Record
  • Service number
    WWI 16/1018 AWMM
  • Military service
    1915-1916 Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 February 2016 - Military Record
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    • WW1 Unknown AWMM Farmer/Civilian AWMM
    • 9 June 1915 at Te Araroa
      12 June 1915 at Trentham Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 February 2016 - Military Record
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment
    34yrs Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 7 February 2016 - Military Record


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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    • Died of wounds, Cause of Death AWMM
    • Height, WWI AWMM
      5 feet 8 inches AWMM
    • Weight, WWI AWMM
      14 stones AWMM
    • Hair colour, WWI AWMM
      Silver AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Henare Kohere was born in 1880 in Te Araroa, the fourth child and third son of Hone Hiki Kohere and Henarata Bristow. Hone Hiki's father was a highly respected warrior and Rangatira, Mokena Kohere, famous for the military stand he took against the Hauhau and for his wisdom and skill in endeavouring to safeguard Maori ownership of land.

      Henare's earliest schooling was in Te Araroa. In 1887, when his grandfather, Mokena Kohere, retired from his position in Wellington, he returned to live in his family home in Rangitukia. By this time his son, Hone Hiki, had died, and Henare's mother also moved to Rangitukia to care for her father-in-law, in accordance with her late husband's wishes. She stayed there until Mokena's death in 1894, so most of Henare's primary education was at Rangitukia school.

      The following year Henare, like his brothers Reweti and Pohipi before him, enrolled at Te Aute College. Both Pohipi and Henare were enrolled under the surname Morgan, the name from which the Maori Mokena is derived. (The other two boys, Reweti, and the youngest brother, Tawhai, were enrolled with the surname Kohere.)

      After he left school Henare went as a farm cadet to a sheep station in the Nelson area, later joining his mother and sister to work on the family farm at East Cape. While there, he was awarded the bronze medal of the Royal Humane Society for his bravery in saving the life of a sailor from the scow Whakapai, which had overturned in a southerly gale off the East cape. The crew of five clung to the keel for hours, until eventually all but James Bertie were washed off and drowned. When he, too, slipped into the water, Henare was able to swim out and bring him ashore alive.

      More is known about the life of Henare Kohere partly because his older brother, Reweti Kohere, wrote two biographical books which contained information about him (The Autobiography of a Maori and The Story of a Maori Chief), and partly because of his reputation from his part played in the First World War.

      When his brother Henare returned to New Zealand he went back to farming. In 1905 he married Ngarangi, the daughter of an Anglican minister, the distinguished Mohi Turei. They had three children - two daughters, Huinga Raupani and Ngarangi Putiputi, and a son, Hone Hiki. Like his father, Hone Hiki also represented New Zealand at a coronation, that of Queen Elizabeth II, Henare's wife died when the children were quite young and they were brought up in Rangitukia by their maternal grandmother, Kararaina Korimete.

      In 1915, Henare followed in the footsteps of his younger brother, Tawhai Mokena Kohere (16/110), and enlisted for service in the New Zealand Army. It is said that 60 Ngati Porou men, inspired by his example, enlisted in the following days. His older brother described Henare as a good correspondent who kept in touch with the family.
      The New Zealand Division was moved to France after the evacuation of Gallipolli, and Second Lieutenant Kohere and his Ngati Porou men were engaged in the Somme offensive. He was hit by a German shell, and died from the wounds in 1916. At his dying request, his cousin, Pekama Kaa, was put in charge of his platoon.

      In his Story of a Maori Chief, Reweti Kohere quoted a contemporary London newspaper report: THE PASSING OF KOHERE - A RANAGTIRA'S WISH

      Old Kohere was the chief of Ngati-Porou. He was named Ropata Wahawaha to lead his taua for his prowess; and he himself sat in council in the New Zealand Parliament in his ripe years. Lieutenant Kohere lay on a stretcher in the dugout on the Somme. He was quite comfortable and happy. In one hand he held a lighted cigarette; the other hand was smashed by a high-explosive shell. He was greviously wounded, too, in the groin. Kohere was a chief, and he was paying his small debts, his trifling mess accounts and so on, because he expected to die.

      The Major (Rangihiroa) thrust his head and shoulders in at the door, darkening the dugout. "How is it, Kohere?" he asked in Maori.

      "Ka nui te kino," was the quiet reply. The tohunga might not know. But Kohere knew it was very bad, and he was squaring up with life like a chief.

      Kohere's grandfather had named Ropata for the war captain, because a chief always wishes well for the tribe. Was there anything Kohere wanted?

      "There is only one thing," whispered the dying rangatira. "I want the platoon to go to Kaa." It was the old tribal mana. Ngati-Porou had a full platoon of their own, and yet another platoon was chiefly of Ngati-Porou with a Ngati-Porou leader, Lieutenant Kaa. The rangitira wished to hand over his tribesmen to their chief.

      Kohere went down the line and died, and was buried, and far away at the Antipodes the greatest tangi of Ngati-Porou mourned his passing.

      "What is to be done?" said the Colonel to the Major when they talked of subsequent appointments. "Well the first thing to do is to be square with Kohere. Kaa must have the platoon." And Kaa leads the Ngati-Porou to-day.

      Sir Apirana Ngata composed a tangi (lament) to commemorate the work of the Maori Pioneer Battalion. The second verse of this was devoted to the East Coast tribes and refers to Henare Kohere specifically:

      E te Ope Tuarua
      No Mahaki rawa,
      Na Hauiti koe,
      Na Porourangi.

      I haere ai Henare
      Me to "wiwi".

      Hei kawe korero,
      Ki te iwi nui e.

      Taukiri e!

      The Second Party
      Came from Mahaki,
      From Hauiti also,
      And from Porourangi.

      When Henare went
      And his "wiwi"
      News and Message.

      To all at home:
      Alas! Alas!

      Reweti Kohere explains that "wiwi" is a Ngati-Porou colloquial term meaning a party of young people.

      In Hikurangi to Homburg Henare describes his first journey overseas. His last journey took him back to France, where his body lies in a grave in the Somme.

      Father of Lieutenant Hiki Kohere (1953) who was part of the Coronation Contingent for Queen Elizabeth.

      A Kohere, H. is listed in the "Māori detatchment" in Stowers. Part of the Coronation Contingent 1902 where 32 Maori soldiers were sent to London to celebrate the coronation of Edward VII. AWMM
      Lieut. Kohere who died from wounds was aged about 38 years, his next-of-kin being Henarata Kohere (mother), Te Araroa, East Cape. His regiment was the Pioneer Battalion. He went as a Second Lieutenant in the Second Maori Contingent, and was in command of the Ngati porous when he died. Lieut. Kohere came of a fighting line. His great grandfather, Pakurua was kllled whilst leading an attack on the Wharekura stronghold in the Bay of Plenty; To avenge his death Lieut. Kohere's grand uncle, Kakatarau, organised a war expedition embracing tribes from Hawke's Bay to Hicks Bay. The expedition lay siege of the Tokokuku pa at Te Kaha, Bay of Plenty. ln the 'battles that followed Lieut Kohere's 'great grand father's death was fully avenged. During the Tokakuku fight civilised methods of warfare, owing to the influence of a converted native, named Taumataakura, were first introduced on the East Coast. The warrior's then referred to God as the "God of "Taumataakura and Kokatarau," who forebade the spoilation of the wounded and dead. During the troublous times of the Maori war Lieut. Kohere's grandfather, Mokena Kohere, took up arms against the Hauhaus. On one occasion Mokena with a handful of men defied the hordes of Hauhaus, who were then over-running the East Coast, and owing mainly to Kohere's firm stand and tact the Hauhau rising on the East Coast was stamped out. In recognition of his loyal services Mokena Kohere was presented by Queen Victoria with a very handsome sword, and he was one of the first. Maoris to be called to the Legislative Council. Lieut. Kohere was educated at the Rangitukia Native school, East Cape, and at Te Aute College. After leaving school he took up sheep farming at the East Cape. There some years ago he saved a sailor - the sole survivor— from the scow Whakapai, and for this act he received from the Royal Humane Society, a medal and certificate. He went to England as the representative of his tribe to the coronation of 'King Edward. On that occasion he visited Durban and Capetown, England, Scotland, and took a trip up the River Rhine as far as Hamburg. Whilst in Egypt durjng the present war, after performing a war dance with his platoon before the Prince of Wales, he was presented to the Prince. Lieut. Kohere was a good war dancer and his platoon was well famed for their performances. He married the daughter of the late Rev. Mohi Turei who, predeceased him four years ago and by the marriage Lieut. Kohere leaves behind to mourn his death three children; the eldest, eleven years old, is now at Hukarere school. Lieut. Kohere was very much respected and loved, by his men, several of whom are his own relatives. His sword was the gift of the Hon. A. T. Ngata, M.P. Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 February 2016 - Poverty Bay Herald, Volume XLIII, Issue 14107, 26 September 1916, Page 4
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About death

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  • Death
    16 September 1916 AWMM
    Age 36 AWMM
    FranceEurope AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-l'Abbe, Somme, France AWMM IV. F. 11. AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    News was received by Lady Carroll on Friday that Lieut. Henare Kohere, brother of the Rev. Reweti Kohere, Te Araroa, and who was well known in the Gisborne district, had been killed in action. Lieut. Kohere, who was about 37 years of age, was very popular, possessing many European and Native friends. He came from a great fighting stock, being a grandson of the late Major Morgan Kohere, one of the greatest warriors of the Ngatiporau tribe, who fought with Major Ropata. Lieut. Kohere was educated at Te Aute College, and was a prominent athlete. He was a man of fine physique, and a member of the Maori Contingent which went Home to King Edward's Coronation. He left with the Second Maori Contingent, and proved himself a popular and efficient officer (telegraphs our Gisborne correspondent). He was a widower, and leaves several young children. A young brother of the lieutenant is also fighting in France. Lieut. Kohere some years ago received tho Royal Humane Society's medal for bravery for rescuing two or three members of the crew of a sailing vessel wrecked near East Cape Public - Lorraine M - Researcher - 8 February 2016 - Press, Volume LII, Issue 15704, 25 September 1916, Page 8
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    • St Mary's Church Memorial Board, Tikitiki near Rangitukia, East Coast, New Zealand AWMM
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 1 Hall of Memories AWMM

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  • Tena koe taku tipuna, he hoia kaha koe, he pai koe ki ahau. Arohanui Marangairoa Rangitukunoa (Kohere), e wha aku pakeke.
    Public - Marangairoa - Direct descendant - 7 May 2018
  • Hi Henare you were very brave and I wish you were still alive this day we miss you heaps and thank you for being so brave you are a very determined person i am so proud of how much you actually thought about the people who have freedom this day we wouldn't have this freedom today that we have now thank you kind regards Natasha Hema P.S. Rest In Peace
    Public - natasha - Other Relative - 4 May 2015

Related Serviceperson



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Command item
Command item
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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
02 October 2022Lorraine MonaGisborneResearcher
07 May 2018MarangairoaGisborneDirect descendant
08 February 2016Lorraine MGisborne, NZResearcher
04 May 2015natashagisborne new zealandOther Relative

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