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Poroporoaki ki a Denis Wilmott Hansen QSM

6 September 2013

Poroporoaki ki a Denis Wilmott Hansen QSM

Hūtia te rito o te harakeke

Kei hea te kōmako e kō?


Rere ki uta

Rere ki tai

Māu e ui mai,

‘He aha te mea nui o te ao?’

Māku e kī atu,

‘He tangata, he tangata, he tangata!’

E te tama a Kahutianui, a Ngapuhi nui tonu, Denis, takoto, takoto, e moe. Auē, taukuri e!

E kore mātou e rongo anō i tō reo orooro! E kore mātou e rongo i te mahana o tō aroha! E kore mātou e rongo i te whiu o tō kohete mo te mahi kūware! E te rangatira, e te pakeke, ka noho mokemoke mātou i a koe e ngaro atu nei. Ka nui te tangi ki a koe, me te aroha ki tō whānau e mamae ana.

E te Whānau o Waipareira, e ngā iwi o Waitakere: kua hinga tō koutou toka tū moana, kua ngaro tō koutou whakaruruhau, kua kati te ringa āwhina, kua pani koutou katoa. Ko koutou e tangi ana, ko tātou katoa.

Ko ngā mahi a Denis, e pā ana ki ngā kaupapa nunui o te ao Māori, ēngari e tika ana tana kōrero mōna anō: “he tangata mo ngā whānau rawakore, taimaha, mamae, pōuri, e tūroro ana”. E te Pāpā, e te rangatira, haere, haere, haere ki te Pō!

The Māori Party is shattered to hear of the sudden death of Denis Hansen.

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Dr Pita Sharples said “Denis has been a towering figure in the lives of Māori in West Auckland, the wider region and in te ao Māori, as an indomitable champion of the alienated, the dispossessed, and those in distress.

“He was awarded a QSM in 2010 for outstanding service to Māori and the community, and it is testament to the love and support he earned from his communities and organisations that 1500 people attended his 80th birthday party just a few months ago.”

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Denis was born in Kaitaia of Ngāti Kahu and Ngapuhi descent. He was a Māori All Black and a New Zealand Māori Rugby League rep, and served in the NZ Army in Korea and Japan, before spending most of his adult life in West Auckland as a leader of the post-war “urban migration”. As a Department of Māori Affairs Community Officer he helped families with housing, adoption, education, restorative justice and victim support.

Co-leader Tariana Turia said that Denis’s experience and commitment to community led to many leadership roles, as Chair of Te Whānau o Waipareira Trust, Chair of NZ Māori Rugby, kaumātua for the National Māori Urban Authority, Police, Corrections and the Auckland DHB.

“He was always there for those in need, at the Rangatahi Court, at Parole hearings, Whānau Court hearings and the Waitakere District Court. He saw himself as a servant of those in need. Every time I saw him at his office in Māori Affairs he was feeding the rangatahi. He did not ever wait for the government to act, he himself cared for others and he took his responsibility seriously,” she said.

Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said everyone who met Denis was struck by his direct manner and powerful personality.

“My first encounters were at Auckland University, where Māori gathered around him and he looked after us young students. We loved his easy-going manner and his infectious humour. But Denis spoke his mind, and you were never in doubt what he thought. You might disagree – he loved a debate – but he could certainly back up his opinions. That made him an awesome advocate for people confronting injustice.”

Pita Sharples says Denis Hansen will leave a huge gap in the leadership of Māori groups in West Auckland, and whoever steps up will have to fill some very big shoes.

“Denis represented the first wave of urban migrants, and his experience of the hard times of the 60s and 70s made him clear about the issues and strong in support of the people. In his work and among the community, he addressed all the issues that the people faced, he fought hard for Māori, and the people loved him for it. Denis will be sorely missed, most of all by his family, and our thoughts go out to them.”


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