31 March 2004 Media Statement
Prime Minister Helen Clark said today she was deeply distressed to learn of the death of historian Michael King and his wife, Maria Jungowska, in a car accident yesterday.
Helen Clark said Michael King was one of New Zealand’s finest historians and his death was a terrible tragedy.
“He made a huge contribution to New Zealand history and scholarship, and was a voice of reason and enlightenment on issues around New Zealand race relations.
“Michael had recently undergone treatment for cancer, but had come through and resumed his work.
“He was a hugely respected figure not only among historians and the writing community but among a wide spectrum of New Zealanders who found his work informative and accessible.
“Michael was well respected in Maoridom for becoming the first professional historian in this country to immerse himself in Maori history, and for his biographies of Te Puea Herangi and Whina Cooper, among other works.
“But his major contribution was to help all New Zealanders better understand ourselves.
“The death of Michael and Maria is a tremendous loss. My thoughts are with his family and close friends at this sad time,” Helen Clark said.