Dame Te Atairangikaahu a great loss
16 August 2006
Death of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu a great loss
Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says the death of the Maori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, is a great loss to the nation and the impact will be felt in Manukau because of a strong connection built up over many decades.
The Maori Queen had long-established links with Manukau and often attended community events in the city. Sir Barry says, “She touched the hearts and minds of us all and her presence added great mana to these occasions.”
Manukau has the largest presence of Tainui people in New Zealand and Te Arikinui firmly endorsed the development of a strong partnership between the council and iwi in the city. This relationship has set a new standard for partnerships between councils and Maori elsewhere in Aotearoa.
She also supported the settlement of the Manukau Claim, which was a ground-breaking achievement and became a forerunner of many similar positive outcomes for other claims on behalf of Maori.
Sir Barry says, “I enjoyed a personal friendship as well as a professional relationship with her over many years, and I am deeply saddened by her death. She had a wonderful, bright personality and I shall miss her beautiful smile.
“A woman of integrity, insight and humility, she was widely revered and the huge outpouring of respect during the 40th anniversary celebrations of her coronation last May is testament to the affection in which she was held.
“In addition to being an outstanding leader of Tainui, she played a much wider and influential role among Maori throughout New Zealand, and promoted the strengthening of relationships across all communities.
“Te Arikinui had a rare presence which has been aptly described as regal, as befitting her status and lineage as Maori Queen.
“With her passing we have lost one of the outstanding leaders of her generation.
“Our thoughts, prayers and aroha go out to her husband Whatumoana Paki and family, to Tainui and all other iwi of Aotearoa at this very sad time.”