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Maori Party farewells Aunty Kath

Rahui Katene
Maori Party MP for Te Tai Tonga
22 November 2010

Maori Party farewells Aunty Kath

Kathleen Hemi, a Ngati Apa kuia who dedicated her life to helping her people, will be sadly missed by the Maori Party.

“Aunty Kath loved her people so much that not even a hospital bed would keep her from being part of the her iwi’s Treaty settlement earlier this month,” Mrs Katene said.

“She was the force behind getting a marae for the people of Omaka and making sure that Ngati Apa in Marlborough and Te Tai Poutini came together.

“She was also a driving force behind the Ngati Apa claim and the settlement and I will always remember the strong support she gave my late father over the Wai 262 claim.”

The mother of 10, grandmother and great grandmother was particularly concerned with the degradation of Maori whanau, values, education, social issues and welfare, she said.

“Aunty Kath was raised the Maori way, the Ngati Apa way – where whanau supported and looked after each other so having witnessed the breakdown of so many whanau values she felt compelled to make a difference.

“I think that was the reason she involved herself with so many community organisations, about 40 of them to be exact.

“In a lot of ways, she epitomised what whanau ora is, before it was called whanau ora.

“As her mokopuna say, she was definitely the last of the Mohicans – the last of the Ngati Apa people who launched a claim under the Treaty, the last of a generation who held true to Maori values.

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“Aunty Kath has laid a strong foundation for our people and we will miss her dearly.

“Our aroha and thanks go out to Laurie, the kids and mokopuna for sharing their matriarch with us.

"And we acknowledge, with huge sadness, the loss of a loved kuia who will be mourned especially by her whanau throughout Ngati Apa, Ngati Kuia, Rangitane, Te Atiawa and Ngai Tahu.”

In 1986 the 85-year-old was given a Queen's Service Medal for her services to communities throughout the Blenheim region and wider. This included recognition of her work with a number of groups, including, Omaka Marae, where she was the chairwoman, setting up the Omaka Women's Welfare League and founding Te Rapuora Health Services.


Note: Wai 262 is a claim asserting exclusive and comprehensive rights to flora and fauna, cultural knowledge and property as taonga protected by Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi.

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