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Death of Wiremu Karuwha Tawhai

Tariana Turia and Dr Pita Sharples
Maori Party co-leaders
5 December 2010

Poroporoaki ki a Wiremu Karuwha Tawhai

Kua hinga te toka tumoana o waho o Omaio!

Kua wahangu te kaihautu o nga waka o te Tai Rawhiti – o Mataatua, o Horouta, o Te Arawa!

Kua mate a Wiremu Karuwha Tawhai, a, kei te tangi ona iwi o Te Whanau a Apanui, o Ngati Porou, o Ngati Awa, Te Whakatohea, Te Arawa, me te motu whanui.

E Wiremu, ko koe hei reo rangatira mo tatou katoa e rapu tikanga ana i tenei ao.

I tipu ake koe i te kainga, e mau ana ki nga taonga a o tipuna.
Ka haere koe hei kaiwhakaako, puta noa i te motu, tae atu ki Amerika, ki Ingarangi ra ano.
Katahi koe ka hoki mai ki to papakainga, ki reira nga kakano o te matauranga whakato ai i ki waenganui i o iwi.
Nau nga tikanga tuturu o nga matua i whakapumau, e pa ana ki te mahi kai, ki te hi ika, ki te ahu whenua, ki nga mahi o te marae. Na o mahi to iwi i ora ai, a-tinana, a-wairua, a-iwi.

No reira Wiremu, haere koe ki a ratou ma, haere ki tua o te arai, haere ki te po. E te whanau pani, ka nui te aroha ki a koutou.

The Maori Party is saddened to hear of the death of Wiremu Karuwha Tawhai, of Te Whanau a Apanui and the waka of Te Tai Rawhiti – Horouta, Mataatua and Te Arawa.

Co-leaders Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia said Bill Tawhai was a man of many talents, and he used all of them to teach and promote te reo and tikanga Maori.

“Bill Tawhai was renowned as a teacher first and foremost,” said Dr Sharples.

“Over 50 years, his career took him from the small tribal community where he grew up, all over the country, and to the furthest corners of the world.

“And then he came home, to teach and lead Te Whanau a Apanui Area School for sixteen years, and then another decade teaching tertiary students at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi in Whakatane.

“This is a refelection of Bill’s life,” Dr Sharples said, “a man who loved to engage with the wide world, and try new things, but who always recognised the true value of what lay close to home. From a young age Bill learned traditional knowledge of fishing, gardening, language and marae arts, and this was what he gave so generously to his students and his community.

“Bill was also well-known as an actor and broadcaster,” said Mrs Turia.

“He appeared in several films and on television, where his beautiful voice captured attention and you had to listen to him. He was also an advisor to various national science bodies, and was an authority on the maramataka, the Maori calendar,” she said.

“He was widely recognised as an expert in oral literature and marae protocols. He was a member of the Board of Te Waka Toi and received the Ta Kingi Ihaka Award for his contribution to protecting and promoting Maori arts,” she said.

“No reira e te rangatira, takoto mai i te poho o to whanau pani, moe mai ra, moe mai ra.”


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