Montero (Monty) James Daniels

Te paiao pōkeke e iri ana i te rae o Tahumatā
Kāore ia nei he tohu o te mate
Ko wai hoki rā?
Ko wai hoki rā?
Ko te niho makao o Makō Hākirikiri tonu
Ai, te mamae
Ka rewa ake ko te wai aroha
Pūheke ana te roi i ngā pāpāringa
He uhi matarau e tā ana i taku kiri
Tāngia ki te auhi, tāngia ki te huamo
E ngau kino nei, e ngau kino nei
E pōua, e Monty
Kua roa koe
i te moana nui
I te moana roa
Ko te pae moana te whai atu
Hei painga mā mātou
Ngā ngorengore o Makō
Ngā mangainga o Irakehu
Ko tāhau he tohe i te tohe
He mate ururoa i te taupetupetu
Kia tika tonu te wāhi ki te Pātaka
I te Kerēme
Ā kāti, waiho atu
Mā mātou tēnā take e kawe ā haere ake nei
Tukuna koe ki te moana tawhiti
Ki ngā au aiō
Ki ngā ia āe
E kau atu rā, e kau atu rā
Kia kaha te kau
Ko mātou tō iwi ka tūmatatenga nei
I te taha moana
He mātaki noa i tō terenga atu
Ko ngā weruweru o mahara noa
hei whakamahana i te tinana.

Montero James Daniels born 16 February 1929 to Tom Robinson and Molly (Roriana) Ropata and lived his early life on Banks Peninsula with a particular period in Little River, one of 16 children.

Monty was brought up and legally adopted by his father’s sister and his mother’s first cousin, Pirihira Robinson and Kuruwaka better known as Jim (James) Daniels. He lived in the same community as his birth family so they were all very close. Pirihira passed away when Monty was quite young so Jim Daniels looked after him for some time on his own. Jim Daniels was also bringing up Aunty Jean, Aunty Margaret and Aunty Dawn, so he sent them all to Te Waipounamu College in Christchurch and eventually married the principal of that college, Hilda, also known as Nanny.

Monty was sent to Te Aute College in Hawkes Bay where he excelled academically and athletically; he was dux and captained the first XV, first XI and the athletics teams. He also had very beautiful handwriting.

He went on to tertiary study and attended Teachers College in Dunedin, Christchurch and Auckland. In Auckland he met Katarina Maniapoto (Aunty Kā), and they were married in Rotorua in 1951. They settled in Rotorua with Katarina’s whānau at the family farm in Horohoro, where James, Wiki and Rata were born. This is when his association with Whakarewarewa Rugby Club began. His early vocation was as a PE teacher as he excelled in cricket, softball, basketball, volleyball, and athletics, where he could been a great decathlete; but his biggest love was rugby.

Monty and Kā moved to Ōtautahi when the Ministry of Education transferred him south as a physical education adviser for two years, which stretched to over 40 years. They settled in New Brighton where Rawiri and Tupu were born. They were some of the few brown faces in New Brighton in the early 60s, however Monty could straddle both worlds of Māori/Pākehā.

This is where his association with the New Brighton Rugby Football Club began. He coached an underperforming Under 17 grade team which included Rei Simon, Russell Stokes, Eddie Downs, Jackie Rouse, and others, and turned them into the winners of the championship. He also established the home and away rugby games between New Brighton and Whakarewarewa Rugby Club, where some great relationships were formed along the way.

After many years at New Brighton, Monty and others including Joe Tūtengaehe and Terry Ryan, decided to form a new rugby club, Ōtautahi Rugby Club, to cater for the Māori trade trainees who were living in Christchurch at Rehua and other hostels while studying. He worked at the Rehua Hostel during the trade training days and was a stalwart and chair of Rehua Marae.

Monty’s work responsibilities changed over the years in Christchurch as he moved from an advisory role to general teaching at Burwood, Linwood North and particularly Russley Primary Schools. Past pupils recount Monty’s impact, as to most under his tutelage, they experienced their first hāngī, performed haka and waiata ā-ringa, and learnt te reo Māori.

In the early to mid-80s he became more politicised and participated more in tribal issues and was voted on to the Ngāi Tahu Trust Board in 1986, following in the footsteps of his birth-father Tom Robinson and kaumātua Joe Karetai. He was an integral part of Te Kerēme along with Tā Tipene O’Regan, Rakiihia Tau, Bill Solomon, Maria Tini, Kuao Langsbury, David Higgins and Sid Ashton. He continued on the newly formed Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Ngāi Tahu Development Board until 1999.

In 2002, after attending the Whakarewarewa School centenary, Monty and Kā moved back to Rotorua, so his darling Kā could be back among her Te Arawa people after spending over four decades in the south.

He will be remembered as a charismatic character, industrious, diligent, intelligent, articulate, funny and vivacious . He was forthright, he stood small and strong, and was Irakehu tūturu. He generously shared his knowledge with all. He was very aware of the need for whānau and inter-generational achievement through education and sought to place his whānau within the social and environmental future of Ngāti Irakehu, Ngāi Tahu and Aotearoa.

He doesn’t just leave his many friends and whānau, his children, mokopuna and moko tuarua, he leaves his three sisters Te Whe, Pollyann and Olly, along with his hundreds of nieces, nephews and their children and he leaves his beloved Kā. Moe rā, moe rā, okioki mai e te rakatira.

Montero James Daniels.

Montero James Daniels.