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Mayor Chadwick Pays Tribute Following News Of The Passing Today Of Te Arawa Leader Tā Toby Curtis

Pō noa te ao.

He tōtara whakahī kua hinga i te wao tapu nui a Tāne.

He haumi, He urungi, He pītau whakarei kua hoki ki te Matua.

Tā Nopera Toby Curtis e haku ana te takiwā nei.

Light has become dark. The mightiest of trees has fallen in the most sacred part of the forest.

A leader, a mentor, an ariki has returned to the most high.

Sir Toby Curtis – our district grieves your passing.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says the passing of Tā Toby will be widely felt, both locally and nationally.

“He was a great leader and a dear friend and I was privileged to have had the opportunity to spend time with him at his home during the past few weeks.

“Tā Toby was a deep intellectual, witty and influential, someone who didn’t suffer fools and who was a strong advocate for young people and for Rotorua. He was also a man with a deep love for his whanau, his whenua, his people and our country.

“On a personal level, he provided me with support whenever I needed it in my role as MP and provided wise counsel in my role as Mayor.

“He was a strong supporter of the new partnership between Council and Te Arawa that was adopted in 2015. He saw the partnership as enabling meaningful participation by mana whenua in decisions for the benefit of the Rotorua district.

“As Mayor I met regularly with Tā Toby as chair of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust, a position he held for 16 years, and we co-chaired the Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme Strategy Group which oversees the work being done to improve the quality of our district’s lakes.

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“Our regular catch-ups were an opportunity for him to speak directly to Council about any concerns he had and gave us an opportunity to keep him informed. His principal concern was always the wellbeing of young people who he said would be the ones to take Te Arawa and our district forward into the future.

“Tā Toby was a man who believed it was important to make a difference – and he did.”

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