Tai Mitchell, of Ngāti Pikiao and European descent, was born in 1877 at Ōhinemutu, Rotorua. His European father was the surveyor and government land purchase officer Henry Mitchell. The younger Mitchell also trained as a surveyor and worked for the Lands and Survey Department. He soon became a leader in both the Māori and European communities, playing a key role in important hui (gatherings) and public events in Rotorua during the 1920s and 1930s.
With other Māori leaders he devoted much attention to creating scenic reserves in the Rotoiti and Rotoehu areas. In the early 1920s he was chairman of the Te Arawa District Maori Council. In this position he played a key role in dealings between the government and Te Arawa over compensation for lost fishing and other rights in the Rotorua lakes. The settlement, which was never considered by the iwi to be full settlement of their claims, included an annual payment of £6,000 to the Arawa Trust Board, which was to manage the funds for the benefit of Te Arawa.
Mitchell chaired the Trust Board until his death in 1944. Under his leadership the Board carried out a wide range of activities. It purchased land for farming, reopened the Kaituna River mouth, restored pipi beds, awarded educational scholarships and helped maintain marae. Mitchell was a firm supporter of Āpirana Ngata's land development schemes, and helped persuade Te Arawa to participate in them. The first scheme involved land at Horohoro, near Rotorua. Tai Mitchell died in 1944.
I whānau a Tai Mitchell i Ōhinemutu i Rotorua i te tau 1877. He Pākehā tōna matua, nō Ngāti Pikiao tōna whāea. Ko Henry Mitchell tōna matua, he kairūri, he āpiha hoko whenua mā te kāwanatanga. Pērā anō a Tai, ka akoako hei kairūri, ka haere ki te mahi mā te Tari Rūri Whenua. Ka nui haere te tūranga o Tai i roto i ngā hapori Māori me ngā hapori Pākehā. Heoti, kitea nuitia ai ia i ngā hui nui ka tū ki Rotorua i ngā tekau tau o 1920 me 1930.
Ka mahi a Tai me ētahi atu rangatira o te iwi Māori ki te rāhui whenua whakapaipai i Rotoiti me Rotoehu. I te tōmuatanga o te tekau tau atu i 1920, ko ia te heamana o te Kaunihera ā-Rohe o Te Arawa. I a ia i tēnei tūranga, ka noho a ia hei takawaenga mō te kāwanatanga me Te Arawa i ngā whitiwhitinga kōrero mō tētahi paremata ki te iwi mō te ngaronga o ngā tauranga ika me ētahi atu tika a Te Arawa e pā ana ki ngā roto o te rohe o Rotorua. He ono mano pāuna ia tau tētahi wāhanga o te whakataunga a te kāwanatanga, ka tukua ki te Poari Kaitiaki o Te Arawa, māna hei whakahaere mō te painga o te iwi.
Ka noho a Tai Mitchell hei heamana o te Poari tae rawa ki tōna matenga i te tau 1944. He nui ngā mahi a te Poari i taua wā. Ka hokona he whenua hei pāmu, ka huakina anōtia te pūaha o Kaituna, ka whakaorangia ētahi tumu pipi, ka whakawhiwhia he karahipi mātauranga, ka āwhinatia te manaaki i ngā marae. Pūmau a Tai Mitchell ki ngā kaupapa ahuwhenua a Āpirana Ngata, ā, nāna hoki a Te Arawa i whakawherewhere kia kuhu ki aua kaupapa. Ka tū te kaupapa ahuwhenua tuatahi ki Horohoro i Rotorua. Nō te tau 1944 ka mate a Tai Mitchell.