Tauranga Moana iwi are mourning the death of well-known Tauranga kaumatua Morehu Ngatoko Rahipere, aged 90 years.
Morehu spent decades working for his people during his lifetime and has become widely regarded as an acknowledged leader, an exponent of tribal lore and narratives, a man of mana and a formidable orator.
His whakapapa extends to two of the principal tribes of the Tauranga Moana region, including Ngati Ranginui, and Ngai Te Rangi, and also to Ngati Awa. His primary hapu affiliations are to Ngai Tamarawaho and Ngati Rangi.
In a media release issued this morning Ngati Ranginui leaders have announced Morehu will lay in state at Wairoa Marae, from this afternoon.
“At 8am on Wednesday February 21 he will then be taken to Huria Marae, Tauranga where he will spend the duration of his tangihanga.
“A funeral service will be on Friday February 23 at 7.30am before Morehu is taken to his final resting place at Motuopae.”
In his lifetime Morehu has been awarded the highest honour in the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Maori.
He was instrumental in advancing the return of Mauao to the people and his expertise and knowledge in tikanga and kawa, has ensured the mountain is protected and its cultural integrity is maintained.
Morehu was also the college kaumātua to Tauranga Boys' College - progressing the building of a school marae and he also supported Tauranga Girls' College.
He was central to establishing the partnership between Western Bay of Plenty Primary Health Organisation and Ngāti Ranginui alongside supporting the Māori Health Rūnanga.
Morehu also supports the Christian Education Trust and the Bethlehem Campus and was actively involved in the kaumātua forum of Tauranga City Council.
Most recently Morehu received an Honorary Doctorate from University of Waikato for his contributions to them.
For all enquiries please call Charlie Rahiri 021 02552859 or Kirsty Willison 021 056 3822