Acknowledging an extraordinary te reo champion
E tangi ana a Taranaki iwi, e tangi ana te ao Māori, otirā e tangi ana te motu. Mōu katoa ngā roimata e riringi whānui ana, mōu katoa ngā mihi.
E te kaikōkiri i te reo Māori, e Te Huirangi, takoto mai. Takoto mai me te mōhio ko ngā āhuatanga i puea ake i te werawera o tōu rae, i ora ai te wairua, te hinengaro, te wairua o tō iwi o Taranaki, o tō iwi Māori anō hoki puta noa. Ko te pānga e rongo tonu ana, e rongo tonu ana.
“It is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru CNZM, “ says Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta.
“So much of what we take for granted now in the revitalisation of te reo Māori would not have happened without the advocacy and vision of leaders like Huirangi.”
Dr Waikerepuru was at the centre of the Waitangi Tribunal claim that led to Te Reo Māori becoming an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand and the establishment of the Māori Language Commission in 1987.
Minister Mahuta says “Huirangi was a relentless campaigner who staunchly promoted kaupapa Māori and indigenous rights at a national and international level. Without him I doubt we would have a thriving Māori media sector and such a resurgence of Māori language in his lifetime.”
Dr Waikerepuru was also a highly sought-after teacher, a life member of the Tertiary Education Union and he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato in 1995.
“He believed all New Zealanders had a role to play in keeping the language alive and held true to that throughout his lifetime. At the core of his being was his fundamental belief that Te Reo must be accessible, for Māori, for Pākehā, for all New Zealanders. He lived to see that dream becoming a reality.
“My aroha goes out to his whānau, his iwi and all those who are mourning the loss of a great leader at this difficult time. E te pāpā, ko mātou ēnei e mamae ana i tō rironga atu ki te pō, engari e aroha atu ana i ō tini manaakitanga ki a mātou. Moe mai rā i te rangimārie.”