Saturday, April 20, 2024

Tā Wira leaves lasting legacy

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson have expressed their deep sadness at the passing of Sir Harawira (Wira) Tiri Gardiner.

“Tā Wira leaves behind a legacy that cannot be measured,” the Prime Minister said in a statement today.

“A tireless advocate for his people he has been a trusted and respected advisor to all shades of government for decades.

“Throughout his many roles it has always been clear that he has been there to improve the lives of others, and he did. His legacy has helped shape Aotearoa.”

Minister Jackson said: “Sir Wira used to tell a story about his high school teacher who told him at the age of 15 he should leave school and go work on the railway because that was the limit of his capacity”.

“This man’s capacity for service had no limit. He gave to his country as a soldier, to his people as a leader, to the public as a servant and to Māori as a trailblazer.

“Sir Wira has held numerous positions throughout many Governments from across the political spectrum. One of the most symbolic to me is as the founding director of the Waitangi Tribunal and the first chief executive of Te Puni Kokiri.

“I would like to think that Te Puni Kokiri was moulded in his image. Today it stands as a Ministry committed to serving our people as its founder, Sir Wira, would have wanted. 

“Sir Wira was a story teller. Over a cup of tea he would share tales from his time in the army or about the history of the Māori Battalion. He was also renowned for putting those stories on paper – with many of his books staples in Māori households across Aotearoa.

“His love for literature comes as no surprise. He told me when he built his house in Ruatoria he built the library first – then all the rooms for humans.

“Although he is no longer with us, his stories and his books will inspire many generations of Māori for years to come.

“Today our thoughts are with Hekia, his tamariki and his wider whānau. We thank them for sharing Wira with us all.

“And so we carry on the conditions they have laid. And as we go on day by day. You will always hear us say……. Ake ake kia kaha e,” Mr Jackson concluded.  

He tātai whetū ki te rangi ka mau tonu. He tātai tangata ki te whenua ka ngaro noa. Haere e te kawa tūnuku, tūrangi, tūpapa I tū ai a Tāne.

No reira e Te Rangatira e Wira, haere. Hoia to waka, ahakoa ka heke te hupe me te roimata o to iwi Māori, kua maaro to haere, kua mutu te mamae, kua kore nga makenu o tēnei ao.

Ka tahuri ki te whānau pani kua mahue nei, e tangi. Arohanui nā to iwi Māori.

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