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Te Puni Kōkiri Mourns Passing of Lewis Moeau

Te Puni Kōkiri Mourns Passing of Pou

Te Puni Kōkiri staff around the country are saddened at the death of long-serving Pouwhakahaere, Lewis Moeau, who died this morning at a family home in Auckland.

Lewis Ruihi Moeau QSO, known affectionately as Pāpā Lewis, held the role of Pouwhakahaere at Te Puni Kōkiri Head Office since it opened in 1992.

Chief Executive Michelle Hippolite says the news has rippled through the organisation and there is a heaviness in the air.

“We are all mourning the loss of our beloved koroua, who has been part of our whānau for many years,” she says.

“Pāpā Lewis worked in my office and I will always be grateful for the calmness and mana he brought to our whare. Our thoughts are with his whānau at this time.”

Earlier this year Lewis shared some of his earliest memories in his career which began in 1956 with the Department of Māori Affairs in Gisborne. He remembered being taken under the wing by ex-serviceman from the Māori Battalion who mentored him and taught him how to be an interpreter for the Māori Land Court. He described them as “classic Māori gentry” who, with their Māori battalion record “stand as giants in our history.” These valued, early experiences at the tender age of 18 would continue to inform a broad and extensive career of service for his people and te iwi Māori.

“Pāpā Lewis wore many hats. Within the state sector he concurrently served as a Cultural Advisor, Private Secretary and Advisor for many Ministers of the Crown including the late Hon Parekura Horomia, Hon Sir Pita Sharples, the present Minister, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell as well as the Rt Hon John Key. He was also the cultural advisor to former Governor-Generals, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand and Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

“Pāpā Lewis was a calm and humble man with great integrity. Over the years, he served our paepae with dignity and honour, and we will miss him dearly,” Mrs Hippolite says.

“There are very few people that are able to traverse, navigate and contribute to te ao Māori and te ao whānui as effectively as Lewis has. His ability to bring people together for a common purpose is his legacy, one that we at Te Puni Kōkiri will continue to uphold.”

Details for Lewis’s tangihanga are still being finalised but his whānau are returning him to his roots at Manutuke on the East Coast where he will lie at Pahou Marae.

ENDS

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