A marae north of Napier and the wider iwi of Ngati Kahungunu yesterday enjoyed one of their proudest days, welcoming a Governor-General as one of its own.

The connection for Sir Jerry Mateparae to Tangoio Marae was through father Whaimatua Anaru, otherwise known as Sam Andrews, who had 13 children with his wife, Manawa Mateparae.

On hand yesterday was the eldest EIT tutor, Rawiri Andrews, who recalled the day in 1954 when the fifth-born departed the household as a tamaiti whangai, just days old, adopted by "Aunt Peggy".

Mr Andrews said: "I saw Auntie with him in her hands, out the kitchen door. It happened so quickly."


Noting Auntie Peggy signified her intentions by making the adoption legal straight-away, he said it was not until more than 20 years later their paths would cross again, effectively through the course of their careers.

Mr Andrews had landed at Ardmore at the Teacher's Training College, and his "kid brother" at Papakura Army Camp. His military career would eventually see him become Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force and the 20th Vice-Regal representative in New Zealand, the Governor-General, His Excellency, Lieutenant General Sir Jeremiah Mateparae, GNZM, QSO.

Few at Tangoio knew of the connection until a television interview with Sir Jerry, about the time he took up the new role in August last year, and Rawiri Andrews blames another in the whanau.

"I've got a cousin at TVNZ... I think she spilled the beans," he said.

After this discovery, marae and iwi leaders worked to bring him home. Yesterday was the Governor-General's first Hawke's Bay assignment in 14 months in the position.