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Burial Application Granted for Matua Bruce Stewart QSM

Burial Application Granted for Matua Bruce Stewart QSM

Tēnā koutou katoa,

Rangatira Bruce Stewart QSM (of Te Arawa and Tainui descent) founder of Tapu Te Ranga Marae Island Bay passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning aged 80, surrounded by his whānau. The whānau are both sad that he is no longer with us and relieved that he is now at peace.

Matua Bruce’s wish

Matua Bruce’s last wish was to be buried on the whenua, which he developed for over 40 years at Tapu Te Ranga Marae. The Marae will eventually go through a process to develop an urupa, which will take some time. For the meantime, the Stewart whānau engaged with the Ministry of Health to apply under urgency for burial in a “special place” under “exceptional circumstances” in a provision of the Burial and Cremation Act 1964.

Much support received

The whānau were pleased to learn last night that the Ministry of Health granted our application. Officers of Regional Public Health and Wellington City Council approved the proposed burial site yesterday afternoon, followed by the Mayor’s sign-off. We are grateful for the support we have received from Wellington City Council, Regional Public Health, Te Atiawa iwi, Wellington Tenths Trust, Ngāti Toa iwi, Te Puni Kōkiri and the Minister of Māori Development Hon Te Ururoa Flavell. The Stewart whānau are grateful for the support we have received throughout this process and relieved that we can fulfill Matua Bruce’s wish to be buried on his whenua, where his journey will end.

A ‘Special Place’

Tapu Te Ranga Marae has a heritage listing in the Wellington District Plan as a noteworthy site of high significance. Matua Bruce embarked on his dream of building an urban marae in 1974. The Marae has delivered social services and work cooperatives for Māori who were moving out of the provinces and into the cities, including the homeless, unemployed and gang members. Today, the marae serves the community as an active hub for learning, sharing and hauora. Matua Bruce always said, "The marae is my home...it is my place of work. The marae is my kindergarten right through to my university...it is my museum...my church...my art gallery. It is where I was born and where I will be buried."

Tangihanga Details

• Matua Bruce is lying-in-state at Tapu Te Ranga Marae, Island Bay where people are welcome to pay their respects to him and his whānau.

• The Tangihanga Service is on Sunday 2nd July at 10:00am.

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