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Tribute to Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu

15 August 2006

Tribute to Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu

Tainui MP Nania Mahuta today paid tribute to Maori Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu – a close aunt and a spiritual leader whose wisdom "touched the hearts of people all around the globe".

After a long illness, Te Arikinui passed away peacefully at her residence at Turangawaewae Marae, Ngaruawahia, today at 5.32pm. She was surrounded by her children, grandchildren and kaumatua. The tangi will be held at the marae, with details of funeral arrangements to follow.

"It is with extreme sadness that we mark the passing of Te Arikinui, who has been more than a queen and a spiritual leader to our people; she has been an auntie, a friend, a wife, mother and grandmother to four generations of whanau. Her wisdom has touched so many in her lifetime, that she has many friends all over the world. She will be truly missed," said Nanaia Mahuta.

"I also want to acknowledge the dedicated team of doctors, nurses and health professionals who cared for Te Arikinui during her long illness. We thank them all for all they have done.

"The whanau would also like to acknowledge in advance all the Manuhiri (visitors) who will be making their way to Turangawaewae Marae over the coming days and weeks, and we thank them for their kind words and wishes as we grieve."

Nanaia Mahuta said Te Arikinui's efforts to promote peace and greater tolerance among all peoples had been a huge inspiration to many.

"I remember when Nelson Mandela came to visit with Te Arikinui at Turangawaewae. No-one believed that this man who struggled for so long in his country against apartheid would ever come to New Zealand, let alone our marae. But he did, and it was fantastic to hear him speak about his vision for South Africa and his message of Peace for all peoples of the world.

"Te Arikinui has also done a great deal of work to consolidate relationships with our cousins across the Pacific, and these have been strengthened by numerous exchanges over the years. This was no different this year, when Pacific delegations attended her 40th Koroneihana celebrations.

"I think a fitting tribute to Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu and her leadership would be: 'See in the hearts of my people a love that endures, a faith that inspires and hands that link in unity to bind us in one purpose'," Nanaia Mahuta said.

ENDS

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