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HOBBS, FANNY IRENE (SISTER AIRINI)

 

Irene Hobbs was born on the 2 June 1902 (Boer War Peace Day) at Wellington.  She was a direct descendant of the early Methodist missionaries John and Jane Hobbs nee Boggref.  Irene treasured her whakapapa and embodied some of the same ideals and visions held by her great grandfather, who had encouraged Weteraina Maori to sign Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

 

Prior to entering the Methodist Deaconess Order at 27, Irene trained as a midwife as well as doing her Plunket training.  These were to help her ministry of 35 years with the Home and Maori Mission.

 

Initial years were spent in Te Kuiti and Kawhia in the King Country, then she spent many years at Ratana Pa and in the Waikato.  She came to Okaiawa in 1934 to begin her ministry.

 

During this time she supervised 21 Sunday schools staffed by 16 Maori and five European teachers.  She lived closely with Maori people and identified with their concerns and while at Okaiawa enjoyed attending the monthly services of the two pacifist prophets of Parihaka, Tohu and Te Whiti.

 

Irene had an inquiring mind and kept abreast with all that was going on in New Zealand - especially where it concerned Maoridom.  She worked alongside such well known figures as Te Puea, W T Ratana and Eruera Tirikatene.

 

Retiring in 1964, Irene Hobbs died on the 15 January 1992 at Auckland.

 

SOURCES

Methodist Conference Proceedings 1992

Out of the Silence - Methodist Women of Aotearoa 1822-1985 by Ruth Fry