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Honouring a distinguished servant of the people

Hon Te Ururoa Flavell

Te Minita Whanaketanga Māori

Minister for Māori Development


5 October 2017

Honouring a distinguished servant of the people

E te rangatira e rere ai ngā mihi pāmaemae mōu mai i ngā tōpito o te motu; heke ai te hupe, maringi ai ngā roimata, kinikini, haehae, auē taukuri e.

Minister for Māori Development Te Ururoa Flavell says Aotearoa has lost a tohunga and dedicated servant of the people with the passing of kaumātua Lewis Moeau, QSO.

“This special koroua from Te Tai Rāwhiti looked after the world’s Kings, Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers when they came to our shores.

“But first and foremost he was a man of his people, Tūranganui-a-Kiwa, Rongowhakaata, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Te Aitanga ā Māhaki and Ngāti Rongomaiwahine.

Lewis Moeau was a distinguished public servant with a career spanning more than 60 years. Starting at the Department of Māori Affairs and serving Te Puni Kōkiri (as it is now known) for more than 25 years.

From 2009, he was kaumātua for the New Zealand Governor-General and Pou Whakahaere (Cultural Advisor) to the New Zealand Prime Minister.

During the 2000s Mr Moeau was Chief Negotiator through the Rongowhakaata Treaty settlement process, and then Chair of the Rongowhakaata Post Settlement Governance entity.

“Lewis’s diplomacy, sensitivity, clarity and humour were a critical part of getting through that time. Never once did he falter,” says Mr Flavell.

As one of the last tohunga o te reo (language masters) of his region, Mr Moeau encouraged and shared his expertise among his own people and more widely throughout the public service for decades.

“Despite his diverse and comprehensive contribution and career, today our thoughts are with those he loved the most; his children, his siblings and his mokopuna.

“In one week Rongowhakaata has gone from the high of launching their iwi exhibition at our national museum; to the depths of grief as one of their most precious taonga is lost to their iwi, and to New Zealand.

“Lewis Moeau was a gentleman of a bygone era, a kaumātua of immense mana and a treasure we are grateful to have known.”

Lewis Moeau is being returned to his people at Manutuke today and will lie at Pahou Marae. Arrangements for his funeral are still being finalised.

ENDS

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