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Parliament’s Kaumātua dies

Press Release

2 October, 2008

Parliament’s Kaumātua dies

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon Margaret Wilson has paid tribute to Rangitihi (John) Tahupārae, Parliament’s first Kaumātua who died this morning at his home in Whanganui.

Ms Wilson said Mr Tahupārae (Whanganui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Maru Kōpiri, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru, Ngāti Apa Rangitāne, Ngāti Maniapoto) had made a significant contribution to Parliament and would be a great loss.

‘John’s contribution to the mana of Parliament can not be underestimated,’ she said.

‘For example, in June this year, he led the unique whakanoa ceremony at Parliament as part of Tribute 08, the national reunion to honour Vietnam veterans and their families.

Mr Tahupārae was a renowned orator who as Parliament’s Kaumātua provided cultural and tikanga advice to numerous dignitaries, including visiting royalty. He was a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

His appointment as Kāumatua and Adviser to the Speaker on the application of tikanga Māori to the proceedings of the House of Representatives was marked with a pōwhiri in the Legislative Council Chamber in July 2000.

Māoridom was widely represented to support and endorse his appointment.

In addition to his work at Parliament, he has run wānanga for more than 20 years including an annual river wānanga that traces the history of iwi down the Whanganui river.

Ms Wilson extended her sympathy and that of her Parliamentary colleagues to his constant companion Rose and their whānau.

Mr Tahupārae will be taken to Pūtiki Wharanui in Whanganui this afternoon. His funeral will be on Tuesday morning.


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