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Ngai Tai

Kia Hiwa Ra
Kia Hiwa Ra!

A founding member of the original London Maori Group, now known as  Ngati Ranana, who are currently in their 63rd year 1958-2021

Born in Torere, Eastern Bay of Plenty of Maori and Scottish descent, grew up with mother’s iwi Ngai Tai under the protection of our tipuna Torerenui-A-Rua.

Educated at Gisborne High School to University level, went on to train with the Auckland Hospitals Board gaining the qualification MSR (Member of the Society of Radiographers).
First Maori Radiographer to travel to Europe to gain further experience.

In 1958 came to UK, co-founded the culture group, now known as Ngati Ranana, with fellow travellers in London.

1963 married Jeff Jessop and raised three children in Onslow Rd  Richmond while hosting Anglican bishops, visiting Maori Academics and artists - offering an open house through the years - taurawhiriwhiri  from which the family has benefited and enjoyed. Now loving our 8 grandchildren.

1983 with Jeff started own trading business specialising in exports initially to the Far East and becoming world-wide (including NZ and Australia)

1991-93 Ngati Ranana Chair

1990: Served on various committees including the ‘1990 Events Standing Committee for New Zealand in Britain’ which organised activities and events to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the signing of te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi)

1991: Completed BA(Open) with  Open University (started in Auckland 1956!)

1994: Honoured by Queen - QSM  Queen’s Service Medal ‘for services over many years to the NZ community in UK’.

1998: Exhibition ‘Maori’ at British Museum. Esther’s taniko pari and tipare included in Contemporary section.
Attended by Aotearoa dignitaries including  Dame Te Atairangi-Kaahu (Selwyn Muru kai korero) bringing soil from different parts of Aotearoa to place in 4 corners of Exibition.  VIP’s included Sir David Attenborough and Dame Kiri Te Kawana.

2009: Air NZ ‘New Zealander of the Year’ Awarded in recognition of a significant contribution to presenting a positive image of Aotearoa in Britain

2012: Te Tohu a Ta Kingi Ihaka. (Sir Kingi Ihaka Award) in recognition of lifetime contribution to Nga Toi Maori and strengthening Maori culture, in this case in UK/Europe. (First time awarded to someone living outside Aotearoa)

As Hon President I see my ongoing role as upholding the core principles of Ngati Ranana and through past experience,  offering advice, help and comfort  to the members and supporters of Ngati Ranana, Te Kohanga Reo and whanau whanui here in London/UK
Ko Torere Ko Au!