Given names: 
Given address: 
Not given
Sheet No: 302

Address and town/suburb previously listed as Oamaru. New details confirmed by electoral roll.

Biographical information provided by Stefanie Lash, Archives New Zealand, for the He Tohu exhibition:

Rora Orbell (nee Wilkie) was born in 1838 at Otago Heads to Peter Wilkie and Mata (Martha) Whio of Ngāi Tahu. Mata was the child of Te Hori and Te Ruahaunui. Mata married Wiremu Nera Potiki, in 1843. They had two children: Henare Kingi and Ihaia Potiki.

Rora, who went by the names Rhoda Flora, married an English migrant named Arthur Orbell in 1857. She was 19. On their marriage certificate Arthur put his occupation as ‘gentleman’. They were married at the house of Mrs Haberfield. This refers to Hakiri, also known as Kararaina, Kiti, Akari, Catherine and Kate – Mata’s sister and Rora’s aunt. They settled at Moeraki and had twelve children.

Rora Orbell signed the Petition with her daughter Frances Ada Amelia. She spent her life agitating and petitioning for the retention of Māori land both in and out of the land courts.

Rora Orbell was widowed in 1916 and died the following year on 30 April 1917, aged 80.

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

Community contributions

1 comment has been posted about R F Orbell

What do you know?

Winnie Matahaere

Posted: 27 Jul 2020

Mata Whio isn't Henare Potiki's mother, Wi Potiki had four wives and his mother is his first wife.