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Poroporoaki: Joe Topia

Poroporoaki: Joe Topia

19 July 2008

“Ka mimiti te puna ki te Hokianga, ka mimiti, ka mimiti!”

“Ka mimiti te puna matauranga i te matenga o Joe Topia, ka toto te puna aroha, ka waipuke mai nga roimata o te iwi kia makuku tonu te whenua.

E te rangatira, e te kaiarahi, haere ra, haere ra, haere ra.”

One of the key leaders of primary health care in Aotearoa has passed away this week, with the death of Joe Topia in the Hokianga, according to Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

“Our people in Whanganui are among the many iwi around the country who learned from Joe about meeting the health needs of our own communities,” said Mrs Turia.

“When I worked for Te Oranganui, before I came to Parliament, we visited Joe, and the late Chris Diamond, to learn from the example set by the Hokianga Health and Enterprise Trust, which Joe had helped to set up.

“This community resistance to the abolition of the Special Medical Area in 1991 was at the forefront of what has become a powerful flax-roots movement that is changing the face of health services in this country,” she said.

“They were among the first to achieve what I would call rangatiratanga over health. They had control over their own pharmaceuticals budget way back when, and that was just so exciting at the time.

“Joe went on to become the Chair of Healthcare Aotearoa’s Kaunihera Maori, an umbrella organisation that emerged from a collective of primary health services, and which has enabled many iwi initiatives to develop from small beginnings into a powerful force,” said Mrs Turia.

Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira said Joe was a pillar of the Catholic Church in the Hokianga.

“He belonged to the Panguru parish council, the Pompallier Hokianga Trust, and Te Tai Tokerau Catholic Regional Pastoral Council, so he was committed to his faith,” said Mr Harawira.

“He also chaired the Panguru Area School, and he was a recognised kaikorero for his marae, and for Ngapuhi nui tonu. He had a really deep knowledge of te reo o Ngapuhi.”

“Heoi, e te rangatira, e te koroheke, e te kaitotohe mo to iwi, e hoki ki te kopu o te whenua, moe mai ra, okioki mai ra. E te whanau pani, kia kaha i tenei wa pouri, me te mohio ano, he nui nga iwi kua ora i nga mahi a to koutou matua.”


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