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Sadness at passing of Parliament’s first kaumatua

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

2 October 2008 Media Statement

Sadness at passing of Parliament’s first kaumatua

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today she was deeply saddened to hear that Parliament’s first official kaumatua John Rangitihi Rangiwaiata Tahuparae (Whanganui) had passed away early today at his home in Wanganui.

“John Tahuparae holds a very special place in our history as the first officially appointed kaumatua for Parliament.

“John was a renowned and gifted orator who provided cultural and tikanga advice to many dignitaries and parliamentarians through his work with Parliament and Government House.

“John performed outstanding service to Parliament as kaumatua over number of years.

“At countless formal occasions at Parliament, he accompanied many dignitaries to be greeted by powhiri. I have attended many formal occasions with him and have always had the greatest respect for his knowledge of Maoritanga, Te Reo and formal protocol.

“John was also an incredibly warm and caring man. My thoughts are with his partner, Rose and his whanau and iwi at this time,” Helen Clark said.

He was recognised for his services to Maori during the 2002 New Year Honours when he was made a Member of the New Zealander Order of Merit.


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