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Mourning Loss of Distinctive, Distinguished Leader

Maori Party Mourns the Loss of a Distinctive and Distinguished Leader

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

Tuesday 19th September 2006

Kawharu te taonga o te mate ko koe tenei i tenei wa. Ko koe tena kua wehe atu i te ao o mamae, kua turi koe ki tona karanga. Ko koe tena kua tae atu ki te paepae o makariri. Na reira haere atu hei hoa mo tera o nga Kawharu, te whetu kotahi e tiaho mai ra i te rangi.

Kua tangohia e te po tenei uri o Tane Mahuta kua noho pani a Ngati Whatua.

No reira Kawharu moe mai i te moe o makariri i te po, takoto ake. Kei te tangi ake enei uri o Whanganui, o Kahungunu, o Te Arawa, o Ngapuhi.

“Words fail to express the heavy loss we feel in the passing of the Paramount chief of Ngati Whatua, Sir Hugh Kawharu” said Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

“Sir Hugh was such a distinguished statesman; his eloquence and the academic rigour he applied to every task was indeed legendary”.

“I can remember feeling absolutely in awe of his presence” said Mrs Turia. “It was a humbling experience to sit with him, and to benefit from the wisdom and knowledge of someone as accomplished as he was in all worlds”.

“We have lost so many great leaders of late, leaders who are indeed irreplaceable” said Mrs Turia. “Sir Hugh was part of an era of special leadership that has not only advanced Ngati Whatuatanga considerably - but has also contributed much to Maoridom”

“Sir Hugh leaves behind a legacy of scholarship through his role as Emeritus Professor of the University of Auckland” said Dr Pita Sharples. “His outstanding contribution to matauranga Maori is recognised across the disciplines of anthropology, Maori studies, educational research, and indeed many spheres of national and international influence”.

“Since 1978 he has been Chairperson of the Ngati Whatua o Orakei Maori Trust Board; and has presided over developments for over twenty-five years with his characteristic diplomacy and an emphasis on unifying his people”.

“I respected his opinion as always being firmly grounded in his own tribal stories, which were enhanced with the considerable expertise he acquired through his scholarship at Oxford, Cambridge, Massey and Auckland universities, his experience with the Waitangi Tribunal, the New Zealand Maori Council, the James Henare Maori Research Centre,” said Dr Sharples.

“We know the immense toll that the last thirteen years - and more - has taken on his life, as he has been a key negotiator for his people in the Crown’s acknowledgement of the restoration of mana whenua rights for Ngati Whatua” said Dr Sharples.

“In acknowledging Sir Hugh, we also remember his late wife, Freda; and her notable achievements in fine arts, in writing, and in service to others” said Mrs Turia. “Our aroha and much sadness goes to their children and mokopuna, as they farewell not only a dignified gentleman; an accomplished and revered leader; but a much loved father and grand-father”.

ENDS

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