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Poroporoaki: Eru Potaka-Dewes

Hon Tariana Turia
MP for Te Tai Hauauru
Co-Leader of the Maori Party
07 August 2009 Media Statement

Poroporoaki: Eru Potaka-Dewes

The Maori Party has today expressed their sadness at the passing of Reverend Eru Potaka-Dewes of Ngati Porou, Ngati Uepohatu and Te Whanau-o-Pokai.

“Eru was widely read and loved nothing better than a vibrant debate on history, Treaty of Waitangi claims, education and rangatiratanga,” Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said.

“He has been a passionate commentator and scholar in the field of theological issues, particularly indigenous theology,” Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said.

Fellow co-leader Dr Pita Sharples said Eru’s contribution would be sorely missed.

“The combination of his dramatic talents, and his spiritual faith, made for a unique strength in hui. Whenever he rose to his feet he would make an enduring impression on the issue of the day – whether it be foreshore and seabed; Treaty claims or any of the vast areas of Maori political debate that he loved to contribute to.”

Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell said Eru’s passion for defending Maori rights was reflected in the hundreds if not thousands of letters he wrote to local newspapers in Rotorua.

“Eru understood the power of the pen and he would apply it particularly in cases to defend Maori rights or bring a new and refreshing perspective to a debate.

“He and his wife Kiri were absolute troopers for our people and I thank Kiri, his children and mokopuna for sharing him with us.”

• Eru was a Dean of Atuatanga at Te Taapapa ki te Manawa o te Wheke – the Dean of Theology at the Maori Anglican Theological College in Rotorua; part-time teacher at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ruamata and life member of the Maori Nurses Council. Eru was also very widely known as an actor having appeared as Old Gobbo in the Maori Merchant of Venice as well as appearances in The Rainbow Warrior; Rapa Nui (produced by Kevin Costner), The Piano; Jubilee and a leading role in the Maori language drama, Tohunga.

ENDS

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