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Tangi for Sir Archie Taiaroa

Issue date: 
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO

Tihe Mauriora
Te Tipuna Whare e tu nei
Papatuanuku e takoto nei
Tēnā kōrua.

E te Rangatira Atawhai,
Takoto i runga i tō atamira,
Haere ki tō Ariki,
Moe mai,

Rau rangatira mā,
E pae nei
Tēnā koutou katoa.

I will now begin reo in Ingarihi by greeting everyone in the languages of the realm of New Zealand, in English, Māori, Cook Island Māori, Niuean, Tokelauan and New Zealand Sign Language. Greetings, Kia Ora, Kia Orana, Fakalofa Lahi Atu, Taloha Ni and as it is the morning (Sign)

I then specifically greet you: Lady Martha Taiaroa and members of your whānau; Arikinui King Tuheitia; Sir Tumu Te Heuheu, Paramount Chief of Ngāti Tūwharetoa;  Ministers of the Crown, Hon Christopher Finlayson, Attorney-General and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations; Hon Georgina Te Heuheu, Minister of Courts and Associate Minister of Māori Affairs; Hon Phil Heatley, Minister of Fisheries and Minister of Housing; Members of Parliament: Chester Borrows, MP for Whanganui; Rt Hon Jim Bolger and Rt Hon Jenny Shipley, former Prime Ministers; Hon Sir Doug  Kidd , former Speaker of the House of Representatives; Rt Hon Sir Doug Graham, former Minister of the Crown; Distinguished Guests otherwise; Ladies and Gentlemen.

On this sad day as we gather at Ngapuwaiwaha Marae here in Taumarunui to remember a man who contributed so much to Māoridom and to New Zealand.

For my wife, Susan, and I learning of Sir Archie’s stroke on Monday and death two days later has been a shock.  A week ago today, we had met at Nga Whare Waatea Marae in Māngere where we were all present for the investiture of another prominent Māori leader, Temuranga Batley-Jackson, as a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.  Sir Archie seemed in fine form, with the twinkle in his eye, which has made his sudden passing all the more upsetting.

The contribution that Sir Archie has made was amply illustrated when I had the pleasure of redesignating him as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit at a ceremony held at Hato Pāora College in Fielding less than a year ago on 22 October last.

It was, as many here will recall, a splendid day.  October weather is never known for its reliability but on that day the sun shone strong and bright.  I vividly recall the heart-warming waiata sung by the students of Hato Pāora, all dressed in their blue blazers, as we entered the paepae, and the strident haka they performed after I had knighted Sir Archie.

More importantly, I recall, Sir Archie’s speech following the ceremony, in which he spoke so fondly of his time at Hato Pāora and the formative effect the school had had on his life.  He recognised the key role of education for young Māori and that his many achievements were symbolised by the school’s motto: “Whaia te Tika—Follow the right”. Characteristically, he dedicated his knighthood to his mokopuna and the young people present.

At that ceremony, I read out the detailed citation from 2003 when he was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, before the reinstatement of titular honours.  That citation listed his many achievements in local government, as an office holder in the Ratana Church, his service as Chairman of the Whanganui River Māori Trust Board, as Deputy Chairman of the National Māori Congress and as a Commissioner of the Waitangi Fisheries Commission.

Not being one to rest on his or anyone’s laurels, as will be known, Sir Archie continued to contribute to his people and to New Zealand, most notably as a Chairman of Te Ohu Kaimoana. 

That bare recitation of positions held, however, does not do real justice to Sir Archie’s most vital contribution. He was a man who walked comfortably in both Māori and Pākehā worlds and he was respected in both.  As the presence here today of senior leaders from Māoridom and Government, both current and past, amply testifies, Sir Archie was both a peacemaker within Māoridom and he built bridges between New Zealand’s treaty partners. 

Today we honour and remember Sir Archie as a Māori leader and as a great New Zealander.  His wise counsel will be sorely missed in years ahead. Rest in peace.

Nō reira, Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.

Last updated: 
Saturday, 25 September 2010

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