Kua hinga he whatukura o Tauranga Moana. Kua hinga rangatira o te iwi Māori. Ka tangi tonu ana te ngākau nā tāna wehe kei tua o te ārai.
E rere haere ana ngā mihi aroha o mātou o Te Rōpū Kākāriki ki te whānau pani me ngā tangata katoa huri noa i te whenua e tangi ana i tēnēi wā pouri.
In the Green Party we are mourning the untimely passing of the hugely respected and recognised leader Te Awanuiārangi Black, of Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāi Te Rangi, Waitaha, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Raukawa ki Ōtaki.
It was with great sadness that I learnt of Te Awanuiārangi’s passing. At only 48 years of age, he has been taken away from us, but particularly from his whānau, hāpu, iwi, much too soon.
Our thoughts and aroha are with not just the whānau pani but also Tauranga Moana and people across the country who are devastated at this loss.
Though I did not have the privilege of knowing Te Awanuiārangi well, by all accounts he was s pillar of the community, and someone who put all his energy and focus into the kaupapa that were important to him and his people.
A champion for the revitalisation of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga, he served as a Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori and contributed to He Pataka Kupu – the first comprehensive dictionary only in te reo Māori.
He was a key figure in the kapa haka world, leading his Tūtara Kauika rōpū to Te Matatini in 2015 – the first time a rōpū from Tauranga Moana has reached nationals.
He was also committed to the honouring of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and representing his people in decision making processes, having worked on Treaty settlements in the Tauranga Moana, Hauraki and Northland regions, and being an elected councillor on the Bay of Plenty regional council.
I have always said that it is the grassroots leadership that Te Awanuiārangi exemplifies that strengthens our communities and ensures that they function and whakamana all of our people.
His passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts, and in the important kaupapa that he championed. May he rest in peace in the embrace of his tūpuna.
Ki a koe e te rangatira, e Awanuiārangi, takato mai, takato mai, takato mai rā. Takato mai rā ki Te Whetu o te Rangi. Ā te wā, haere tōtika koe ki ngā ringaringa o ō mātua tūpuna – nā tō mana rangatira kia taea.