Whangaroa hapū prepare to farewell Te Rangihiwinui Tauroa

By Raniera Harrison

Whangaroa hapū have welcomed home their revered leader, Te Rangihiwinui Tauroa to Te Pātūnga Marae.  Tauroa, who passed away on Tuesday, was 91.

"This man wasn't any ordinary person.  His extraordinary talent was seeing through the physical, mental, spiritual and understanding who you were," says Ngāti Kura kaumātua, Nau Epiha.

Whangaroa hapū have welcomed home Te Rangihiwinui Tauroa who passed away yesterday. 

Tauroa was the first Māori to be appointed a principal of a school in New Zealand.

Whangaroa kaumātua and nephew of Tauroa, Chris Atama says the revered leader "never gave up.  He was relentless in his pursuit.  He had numerous high-ranking positions to show the children here that this is what they can achieve."

The Te Pātūnga Marae speakers' bench have advised that Tauroa will be buried at a new tribal urupā, Te Pātoa, on Saturday.

"He wanted to be buried on his his land where he originated from through his ancestral ties," says Arena Heta, of Te Pātūnga Marae.

Tauroa was also a Māori All Black from 1951 to 1954, and later coached the 1979 Counties NPC Championship team. 

That same year he became the country's first Race Relations Commissioner of Māori descent, a posting he held through the tumultuous 1981 Springbok Tour.

"It is difficult to highlight the greatest gift he gave us, there are a lot of things he gave, the many people he touched," says Atama.

Tauroa served as chair of Te Māngai Pāho and the NZ Sports Federation among other national and international governance roles.  A great legacy left by a great man.

"The most important thing to him was to see your teeth smiling with laughter and happiness," says Epiha.

Tauroa is survived by his wife Patricia, six children, sixteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. 

The final service for Matua Hiwi will take place on Saturday 15 December 2018, 10am at Te Pātūnga Marae.