What’s in a name: Te Paea Avenue

What’s in a name: Te Paea Avenue

Born between 1830-1834 in Russell, Sophia Hinerangi (also known as Te Paea) attended Wesleyan Native Institute at Three Kings in Auckland.

Te Paea, who married twice and had 17 children, arranged tours for visitors at the Pink and White Terraces for some 16 years before the Mount Tarawera eruption in 1886. She was known as a ‘guide, philosopher and friend’ to thousands of visitors to the area, and there are many accounts of her melodious voice.

Te Paea was on Lake Tarawera the morning of the famed phantom waka sighting, and witnessed a unusual swelling of the tides 11 days before the eruption. The story goes that her experiences on the lake that day forewarned the locals, many of whom evacuated the Rotomahana area.

During the eruption, Te Paea sheltered 62 people in her whare, but the phantom waka sighting had marked the end of her guiding in the area. She moved to Whakarewarewa and continued to work in tourism, before her death in 1911.