Riria Paeumu Waaka (Lydia Walker)

Riria Paeumu Waaka(1914-1999) or Lydia Walker was a housewife married to Hapi Cootes and was mother to 6 children (1 died in infancy).


Lydia was born 9th January 1914, to parents Wiremu Kiharoa Walker (or Waaka) and Harata nee Kotua.

Baptism: 30th August 1914
Marriage: before 1949 to Hapi Cootes
  1. Harata Noeleen (f) 1935 – 2002
  2. Mark Tarapiko (m) 1937 – 2005
  3. James Tiapo (m) 1938 – 2003
  4. Hapi Vivian (m) 1938 – 2016
  5. Ina (f) 1940 – 2016
  6. Peter (m) 1941 – 1942
Death: 26 June 1999
Burial: 29th June 1999
Cemetery: Fairhall, Marlborough, New Zealand
Lydia Cootes

Early Life

Riria, or Lydia as she was also known, was born to Harata and Wiremu Walker (Waaka) on 9th January 1914.  At the time of her birth she already had 3 brothers and 2 sisters.  These are Hohia (b.1906), Ihaka Tekateka (b. 1908), Ina (b. 1909), Hohaia Pita (b. 1910), and Haromi Rangitiaho (b. 1912).  She would also have 4 more brothers born after her birth.  These are Rene “Lenard” Joseph (b. 1915), Hori “George” (b. 1916), Maaka “Mark” (b. 1918), and Peter “Tepouwhakarewarewa” (b. 1923).

Her family lived in Okoha and she spent her childhood in Anakoha bay.  Her husband and her male children worked for the sawmill that was in the bay at the time. 

Family Life

Lydia married Hapi Cootes, who was a sawmill worker in the same bay.
Her husband Hapi died 13th March 1961 aged only 48. Sometime after that she moved to Renwick.  As far as I am aware, she swapped the house that she lived in (Okoha) with the house in Renwick who her son Mark owned.  After this the house in Okoha became a family batch used by most of her children and grandchildren.


Lydia died at home on 26th June 1999 at the age of 85. She survived her husband by 38 years.  She was the last of her generation to pass away having her last brother Peter pass away 4 years before in 1995.  She also outlived a granddaughter, Lauren Tracey, who died in 1995 aged only 25.  It is expected that all her adult children were alive when she passed away, Peter died in infancy, and it is believed she had another daughter that was adopted out with the name Marion.  At the time of writing this not much is known about Marion.

Lydia Cootes at her home 1999

Lydia was released to her daughter Harata Noeleens house where a service was held on the 29th June 1999.  She was then taken to Fairhall Cemetery where she was buried.  Her plot details are Cemetery Division:Lawn, Block:1, Row:7, Plot number 56, Plot Key:14281


Most of the sources come from family, Morea Cameron who supplied photos, baptism and death certificate information.


The following documents are available to view

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