Thursday, May 30, 2024

Minister Jackson mourns passing of Māori leader

Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson, has acknowledged the passing of Māori leader Cletus Maanu Paul (ONZM) this week.

The Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Manawa descendant was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2019, for his services to Māori.

“Maanu was a staunch advocate and leader for Māori who was passionate about his iwi, hapū and whānau. He is a huge loss for his people,” said Mr Jackson.

Born in Murupara, Maanu initially worked as a surveyor, retraining at Hamilton Teachers’ College in 1974.

In his first teaching job at Hamilton Boys’ High, he took his students to join the Māori Land March that went through the city.

“Maanu was very vocal and strategic when it came to Te Ao Māori. He was a gifted orator, with a great sense of humour who never ceased to challenge the establishment and government,” the Minister said.

The 83-year-old was a long-serving member of the New Zealand Māori Council and a negotiator in the historic Māori fisheries claim that led to the Sealord Settlement in 1992.

He worked alongside the former Māori Council chair the late Sir Graham Latimer, and was involved in other claims, including the Wai 262 claim over the recognition and protection of the cultural and intellectual rights of Māori over indigenous flora and fauna.

He was executive chair of the council between 1997 and 2002, and in 2012, was appointed co-chair with Sir Eddie Taihakurei Durie.

Manu and Sir Eddie led the New Zealand Māori Council campaign for water rights that attracted huge interest, criticism and support

“Maanu and Sir Eddie deserve all the credit for fronting a hugely controversial issue, challenging the government and making all New Zealanders aware of Māori water rights,” Mr Jackson said.

Maanu is survived by his wife, Gwenda, their four children and their many mokopuna.

“My condolences go out to his whānau at this sad time but they can rest assure that Maanu has left a legacy that his whānau and the wider community can be proud of,” the Minister said.

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