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Sir Hugh Kawharu: a gentleman and a scholar

Hon Georgina te Heuheu
National Party Associate Maori Affairs Spokeswoman

20 September 2006

Sir Hugh Kawharu: a gentleman and a scholar

The death of Sir Hugh Kawharu this week leaves a significant vacuum in the leadership of our nation, following so closely after the passing of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu and Lord Cooke of Thorndon, says National MP Georgina te Heuheu.

"Sir Hugh's leadership was selfless and generous. His inspired and visionary leadership was underpinned by integrity and wisdom. He sought unity and progress, not only for his own Ngati Whatua iwi but for all New Zealanders.

"For me, he was a true gentleman and a scholar. As a university student, I studied his writings on leadership, Maori history and development, and the Treaty of Waitangi. Later, I had the privilege and pleasure of working with him while we were members of the Waitangi Tribunal.

"He was wholly generous with his time and his knowledge. Like all great scholars, he never once assumed his view would prevail. I valued working with him immensely.

"Sir Hugh brought considerable intellect and scholarship to Treaty of Waitangi dialogue. It is his translation of the Maori version of the Treaty of Waitangi, particularly of the concept of 'tino rangatiratanga', that informed our collective understanding of the Maori intentions that underpin the Treaty.

"He was a leader who preferred to work quietly behind the scenes but never hesitated to step into the public arena when it mattered for our country. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word, a great rangatira of immense warmth and humility, and a true son of New Zealand."


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