Hēnare Balneavis, of Ngāi Tāmanuhiri and Whakatōhea, was born in Poverty Bay in 1880. He was educated at Te Aute College and later worked as a law clerk at Gisborne. In 1903 he began working as a clerk and interpreter in the Native Land Court.
In 1909 he became private secretary to Āpirana Ngata, and continued in this role when Ngata became Native Minister. He went on to serve as private secretary to a number of Native Ministers including W. H. Herries, Gordon Coates, George Forbes and M. J. Savage.
Because of his obvious talents Balneavis became a national figure. If not able to directly influence Ministers, he could at least keep them aware of Māori issues and concerns. He also took part in a Māori cultural revival. He was the first secretary of the Board of Maori Ethnological Research and the Maori Purposes Fund Board, which promoted research, traditional arts and craft, and the renovation of marae and meeting houses. Hēnare Balneavis died in 1940 at his office in Parliament Buildings.
Hēnare Te Raumoa Huatahi Balneavis
I whānau mai a Hēnare Balneavis i te tau 1880 i Turanganui-a-Kiwa. Ko ōna iwi ko Ngāi Tāmanuhiri me Te Whakatōhea. I kuraina ia ki te Kāreti o Te Aute, kātahi ka mahi hei karaka ture i Tūranga. I te tau 1903 ka tīmata tana mahi hei karaka, hei kaiwhakamārama reo ā-waha mā te Kōti Whenua Māori. I te tau 1909 ka uru ia hei hēkeretari tūmataiti mā Āpirana Ngata. Ka kake a Ngata hei Minita mō ngā Take Māori, ka whai atu a Balneavis. Ka noho a ia hei hēkeretari tūmataiti mō te maha o ngā Minita mō ngā Take Māori pērā i a Te Hērihi (W. H. Herries), i a Te Kōti (Gordon Coates), i a Te Whōpi (George Forbes), i a Te Hāwiti (M. J. Savage), i a wai atu.
Nā te kitea māramatia o ōna pūmanawa ka hau te rongo mōna ki te motu. I taea e ia te whakamōhio atu ki ēnei Minita he aha ngā kaupapa nui me ngā āwangawanga o te iwi Māori. I tautoko ia i te whakaoranga o ngā tikanga me te ahurea Māori. Ko ia te hēkeretari tuatahi o te Poari Whakapapa me te Poari Tahua Take Māori. I tautoko tēnei poari i ngā rangahau, ngā mahi toi, te raranga, tae atu ki ngā mahi whakapaipai i ngā marae me ngā wharenui. Ka mate a Hēnare Balneavis i te tau 1940 i tōna tari i te Whare Pāremata.