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Tama Poata another tragic loss for Aotearoa

Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leaders, Maori Party

11 November 2005

"The death of Tama Te Kapua Poata this week has been another tragic loss for the nation" stated Dr Pita Sharples, co-leader, Maori Party.

"Our deepest sympathies go to his whanau of Ruataupare, the people of Ngati Porou, the community of Makara, and the many New Zealanders who respected the lifelong dedication Tama gave to the social justice movement".

"Tom was one of our quiet revolutionaries who changed our world for the better, in so many different areas" stated Tariana Turia.

"Tom was a worker, an actor, a movie-maker, an artist, a unionist, an activist fighting for human rights, a devoted father and a loving grandfather".

"Many of us remember him for the sheer thrill of seeing ourselves on screen, in his 1987 screenplay, Ngati, which brought a small East Coast community into the movie theatres" stated Dr Sharples.

"I will never forget sitting in a theatre with a crowd that loved the instant recognition of waiata, whanau, and that brilliant Maori humour. It was a people film - where the line between those in the audience and those on the screen was very blurred".

"Tom was also a pioneer in the pursuit of Maori intellectual property, ensuring there was cultural protection long before others had even heard of it. He initiated the WAI 262 claim by calling together the original claimants, and lodging the original claim".

"Tom was at the forefront of the call for justice - he was instrumental in the planning of the Maori Land March in 1975, he took the test case which saw the 17 people arrested at Raglan walk free, and he is remembered for the extra precaution he took in trying to ensure the safety of people during the Molesworth Street clash with police over the Springbox Tour of 1981" stated Tariana Turia.

"The nation has lost a much-loved and well-respected advocate of Te Tiriti o Waitangi" ended Mrs Turia. "We will all miss him greatly".

E te rangatira, e te hoa, haere atu ra ki o taua tupuna, hoki wairua mai ki a matou e whai atu ana i muri i a koe. Haere, haere, haere atu ra.

Helen Leahy


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