Dame Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu remembered 10 years on

By Mānia Clarke

A few hundred gathered to remember Dame Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu at her residence of Waahi Pā, for a memorial breakfast to mark the 10th anniversary of her passing today. 

Karakia set the atmosphere for Dame Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu's Remembrance Day. 

Those blessings continue throughout the morning to include the christenings of Te Arikinui's great-grandchildren.

“This is the appropriate time to have her three great-grandchildren christened, on the memorial day of our Queen,” says the Queen’s grandson, Turongo Paki, “Her spirit lives on in all of us, her descendants.  The spirit of our grandmother continues on.”

“Te Arikinui started these (events) during Coronation commemorations,” says Te Arataura chairman Rahui Papa, “At her 33rd Coronation, she honoured her father, Kingi Koroki's Coronation.”

Dame Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu passed away on this day in 2006 after a long battle with failing health, surrounded by members of the royal household at Tūrangawaewae Marae. 

“It's a time when we reflect back to the day she passed away,” says Paraone Gloyne (Ngāti Raukawa), “Undoubtedly, all of Māoridom and NZ perhaps remember that time, and where they were when they heard Te Arikinui had passed away.”

“She was so hospitable to me, actually to all of us at Te Kōhanga Reo,” says Timoti Karetu (Ngāi Tūhoe), “I have many fond memories of her.  I come to this marae and reflect back to the many moments we shared.  When I flick through the pages of my remembrance book, yes, my heart grieves.”

Scripture readings and the morning's main message were brought by a few of Te Atairangikaahu's close friends.

At the request of King Tuheitia, a prayer gathering is underway at the ancestral house of Mahinaarangi at Tūrangawaewae Marae, to commemorate this time Te Arikinui passed away 10 years ago, and ahead of this week's Coronation celebrations, which begins with the Tainui Waka kawe mate on Wednesday.