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te Heuheu pays tribute to Sir Robert Mahuta

Georgina te Heuheu National Maori Affairs Spokesperson 1 February 2001

te Heuheu pays tribute to Sir Robert Mahuta

The passing of Sir Robert Mahuta is a sad moment in our country's history. His death is a loss for Tainui, the whole of Maoridom and New Zealand, National Maori Affairs spokesperson Georgina te Heuheu said today.

"Bob was born to lead. As a young man the enormous responsibility for seeking reparations for past injustices was put onto him by his elders.

"Sir Robert spent the best part of his adult life seeking justice and redress for his people being left land-less and homeless by the government of the day in the 1860's. He brought it to the ultimate conclusion with the signing of the Tainui settlement with the Crown in 1995.

"Bob displayed outstanding leadership. As a leader he was fearless, dedicated and single-minded. He never flinched from his responsibilities, even when all the odds appeared against him, as they often did.

"The test of a true leader is to find a way through even in the most challenging circumstances. Bob Mahuta did this.

"It was a privilege to work with him in the 1980s as a fellow board member of the Maori Development Corporation, while he was Chair. But I also knew him personally.

"He was an engaging personality, a good listener, witty, and always endeavouring to see the funny side of life. While he didn't always take himself too seriously, he took the task given by his elders and the motivation to see Maori do well extremely seriously.

"I admired his enormous capacity for hard work, his dedication and commitment. He was always willing to commit not just to those matters directly relating to his own people but to those matters that make a difference to all of us.

"The importance of seeking and achieving justice is a significant legacy he leaves New Zealand. Another legacy, was his ability to inspire people to lift their horizons upwardly and outwardly beyond themselves for the greater good," Mrs te Heuheu said.

Ends

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