Poroporoaki: Titewhai Te Huia Hinewhare Harawira

Ka papā te whatitiri, Hikohiko ana te uira,

wāhi rua mai ana rā runga mai o Huruiki maunga

Kua hinga te māreikura o te Nota, a Titewhai Harawira

Nā reira, e te kahurangi, takoto, e moe

Ka mōwai koa a Whakapara, kua uhia te Tai Tokerau e te kapua pōuri

Ka tangi a Ngāti Hau, a Ngāti Hine, a Ngāti Wai, a Ngāpuhi nui tonu

Otirā, ka tangi te motu

Nāu i akiaki kia whai mana te Tiriti o Waitangi me te Whakaputanga,

I tū koe hei tuarā mā ngā pirimia ki Waitangi

He ika a Whiro nō Ngā Tamatoa

Ko koe tētahi o ngā kaihāpai o te petihana reo Māori kua eke ki te 50 tau

I takahia e koe te motu i te Hīkoi Whenua,

Ko tō tino ōhākī, kua whāia ō kupu me ō tapuwae e ō tamariki mokopuna

Nā reira, e Ti, okioki mai rā i te āhuru nui.

Today we acknowledge the passing of a great wahine Māori, a leader, an activist, a mother, a matriarch – a change agent.

Titewhai Harawira came to signify the essence of the Māori renaissance period, an awakening of Māoridom to not only the wrongs of our collective past, but just as importantly in setting in place a framework for the collective progression of our country through honouring the commitments of our forebearers to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the promises it holds for all.

Our whaea never took a backwards step in fighting for what she thought was ‘tika’ in promoting the rights of Māori. She was at the forefront of many seminal moments in our recent history, from the very early protests of the 1960’s through to the formation of Ngā Tamatoa in the 70’s, where she was involved in the Te Petihana Mō Te Reo Māori, the Māori land march – and of course her biding presence at Waitangi as a sometimes guiding hand for Prime Ministers – and at other times unashamedly voicing her discourse over their actions.

Titewhai was also a staunch supporter of urban Māori, much of that urban Maori work was carried out with the NZ Maori council. During the 70’s and 80’s whaea was part of a dynamic team led by Dr Rangi Walker and Dr Pat Hohepa who constantly fought for Maori rights in the city. She eventually became the Auckland Maori council chair and was the leading figure for council in advocating for Maori who were struggling and particularly the Maori Wardens.

Whaea Titewhai had no qualms in calling out leadership, whether it be the government of the day or Māori leadership if she saw failings. There is no doubt that her challenges to government at Waitangi gave her national recognition and she was unfairly characterised as a Waitangi troublemaker, but the truth of course was much different. Many a Prime Minister, Minister, MP, Mayor, iwi or community leader have not only felt the sharp barb of her tongue, but also the comforting touch of her reassurances and knowing that she will be there to manaaki them in their journey.

Importantly, Whaea Titewhai has ensured her legacy will live on in the words and actions of her tamariki, mokopuna and uri whakaheke. She has instilled in every one of them the fighting spirit she herself become known for.

It is only fitting that  Whaea Titewhai will commence her final journey at home with her whānau tonight before being taken to Hoani Waititi marae to lay in state. The final part of her journey will see her returned to her beloved Te Taitokerau where she will lay in peace with her whānau.