Te Whetu Werohia Tipiwai, passed away at the age of 63 on Friday 6th March, 2015.
Te Whetu was Chairperson of Hawke’s Bay Māori Rugby Board for 30 years and also chaired the Central Region Māori Rugby Board for 10 years and was a member of the New Zealand Māori Rugby Board for 15 years as the Te Tini a Maui – Central Regional Representative.
He was also kaumatua of the Māori All Blacks (then called New Zealand Māori) from 2001 to 2010. He composed the team’s haka; Timatanga and gifted a unique taonga to the team when it was first performed in 2001. He also composed the Black Ferns’ haka; Ko Ūhia Mai.
Te Whetu devoted much of his life to developing Māori rugby throughout Aotearoa and worked to help build a stronger Māori presence within the community.
He was Chairperson of Ngāti Hineutu Iwi Incorporated for 18 years and a member of the Ahuriri Māori Executive Committee and is a trustee of a number of Māori land trusts. He was also a member of the Takitimu Regional Council and the Pou Kura Taiao manager with the Department of Conservation at the East Coast-Hawke's Bay Conservancy.
In 2009, Te Whetu was awarded an MNZM for services to Māori and rugby.
Friends and family have gathered at Ōmaio Marae, Beach Road on the East Coast to farewell this great man.