Waimakariri Mayor, Dan Gordon says Council is deeply saddened by news of the death of Dame Aroha-Reriti Crofts, who passed away on Friday evening.
“Dame Aroha was a very special lady that I and the Council enjoyed a special bond with. I have got to know her very well in my role as Mayor and enjoyed a close friendship. I’ve been especially grateful for her wise advice over the years,” says Mayor Gordon.
Dame Aroha (Ngāi tūāhuriri, Ngāi tahu) was the kaumātua of Tuahiwi Marae and Waimakariri District Council and has represented her hapū at an iwi level for many years, he said.
She was awarded a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of her significant service to Māori and the community in 2020.
Dame Aroha was a member of the Māori Women’s Welfare League since 1968 and served as national and international president from 1990 to 1993, as well as being a life member of the Otautahi branch.
She was the chairperson of Matapopore Charitable Trust, culturally advising and guiding developers in the Christchurch rebuild and also served as chairperson of the Poutama Training Centre and Nga Maia Māori Midwives Trust. She was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1993.
“Our thoughts go out to Ngai Tuahuriri rununga, Dame Aroha’s family, and to the many organisations she was involved in over the years. She was highly respected and loved in our community,” says Mayor Gordon.
“Her amazing contribution was recognised with the awarding of a Dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2020. In her own selfless way, when celebrating her award at a special function at my home, and passing on our communities warmest congratulations she responded that her recognition was good for all of us. And she was right. We were so proud of her and all that she achieved.
“Dame Aroha was generous with her time to our Community and Council. A special moment for me, when I was elected Mayor, was Dame Aroha attending our first Council meeting and blessing the new Council. It was a very moving experience for myself and the Councillors.
“Our thoughts and love go out to all at this sad time. We are going to miss her. Her legacy and mana will live on and contribution won’t be forgotten but forever cherished. On behalf of a grateful community, rest in peace,” he said.