Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson, has acknowledged the passing of Ricky Houghton, a man who he says worked hard to create better outcomes for Māori.
The Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Whātua, and Te Paatu descendant was the chief executive of He Korowai Trust in Kaitaia. He passed away early on Monday morning, aged 62, after battling illness.
“Ricky was committed to improving the quality of life for Māori in West Auckland and in the far North. He was A real man of the people, it is a huge loss for Māori,” Minister Jackson says.
“With Ricky at the helm, the Korowai Trust helped to deliver projects such as; recycled whare providing affordable home ownership for whānau, an early childhood centre, emergency accommodation, social growth, and economic innovation hub, as well as a safe home for men as an alternative to prison.
“The far North has experienced more than its fair share of economic hardships for its people and Ricky always took a common sense approach to issues. He knew that by Māori for Māori was the best way forward for whānau to achieve their aspirations.
“His experience at the community level enabled him to combine the expertise, resources, and abilities of Māori organisations, business interests, and Government to collectively improve outcomes.
“Ricky’s vision wasn’t just about building a warm dry home to live in either, he sought economic opportunities to unlock whenua Māori, because he knew it was about ensuring that the generations to come could remain prosperously on their land.
“That is the legacy that Ricky leaves behind, a pathway of hope and prosperity for his people. My condolences go out to his whānau and friends at this sad time,” Mr Jackson said.