Topic: Aunty Bea

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One of Rotorua’s favourite and most prolific authors

Aunty Bea at the Library   One of Rotorua’s favourite and most prolific authors is Beatrice Yates MNZM, QSM, JP.

Throughout her teaching career which spanned 50 years, Aunty Bea as she is affectionately known by all her paststudents and associates, penned many songs and stories to introduce te reo Maori to Rotorua children.

 Thanks to her, many children were able to experience poi, taiaha and rakau (stick games), learn Maori words through song and dance and hear Maori legends told in the uniquely Aunty Bea way. For many years, she carted her home ‐ made books from school to school, delighting generations of tamariki. While raising her own family, she also performed kapahaka for visitors  and tourists and travelled the world with concert groups.

In 2004 she was instrumental in establishing Te Whakapono Health Trust which raised $780,000 for a dialysis unit in Rotorua. She also raised funds for a mobile ear unit and an upgrade for the chemotherapy unit at Rotorua Hospital. She continually raises funds for Rotorua health services and at her library event for NZ Book Month, a gold coin donation will go towards petrol costs to assist locals who need to go to Waikato Hospital for cancer treatment.

Many children have benefitted from her “soup” kitchen which she ran at Rotorua Lakes High School, largely funded by donations from local businesses and herself.

In 1993 she received the Queen’s Service Medal and the NZ Local Hero Award for Rotorua/Taupo in 2010. She also won the Supreme Award for a lifetime of services to Te Arawa at the Te Arawa Mataariki Women’s Awards.

Most of Aunty Bea’s books (with CDs) are all in the library or you can purchase your own copies from her via her website


Her earlier books include Let's Learn Maori ‐ Hera and her Kuri, Rima Rakiraki, Toku Mama, Papa, Hohepa te Puru, Koro Pokiha, Pererika te Poraka, Tapu ‐ with June Grant.

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Aunty Bea

First Names:Beatrice Piatarihi Tui
Last Name:Yates
Place of Marriage:Rotorua
Marriage Date:Unknown
Date of Death:6th September 2018
Spouses Name:Albert Yates
Children:Victor Yates, Hohepa Yates and Wahanga Yates-Wright.
Date of Event:Thursday 21st March 2013 at 4pm