Haka expert Ngāpō Wehi will be laid to rest at Waihirere this Thursday after losing his battle to a long-term sickness in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Ngāpō will be laid to rest on Thursday beside his wife Nen Wehi.
Today, Te Waka Huia and Manu Huia arrived from Auckland, expressing their deep pain and hurt at their loss.
Spokesperson for the group, Hare Rua, says Ngāpō wasn't just a haka expert, he was also a man of many talents.
“Some may think it was just kapa haka but for Te Waka Huia, he also taught us right from wrong, to watch and look after the children, and encouraged us to pursue a higher education to benefit our families,” says Rua.
Tributes flowed as memories were shared amongst the mourners.
Kaumatua of Parihimanihi Marae say an uncle of Ngāpo had established whakapapa links between Te Whakatōhea and Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, supporting the decision to have him lie in state here.
As the locals prepare for the masses, Hare Rua says other iwi wanted Ngāpo; an indication of his mana.
Kingi Tuheitia and Waikato Tainui as well as Ngāti Kahungunu are expected to pay their respects tomorrow.