Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias shares a heartfelt eulogy and fond memories of her friend Dame Ngāneko Minhinnick.
Dame Sian spoke to Kawe Kōrero Reporters and says meeting Dame Ngāneko changed her life.
Dame Sian first met Dame Ngāneko in 1984 when they worked together on the Manukau Harbour Claim.
She says, “Ngāneko was a wonderful, a beautiful human being. She was extremely profound herself. I think that was because her upbringing was not one where she came to her activism out of book learning. She was somebody who was sent out by the old people to find out what had happened to their lands, what had happened to their waters, why they were making no impact in their communities.”
Dame Sian says the Manukau Harbour Claim brought the Treaty of Waitangi into the consciousness of law and of people in New Zealand.
She says Dame Ngāneko was also the driving force behind Section 9 of the State Owned Enterprises Act which paved the way for significant claims over land and assets held by state owned enterprises.
Dame Sian says, “She [Dame Ngāneko] was I think one of the most pure hearted people I ever met. And that I think was because of her early experiences and her long service with the people.”
The final service for Dame Ngāneko Minhinnick will be at 10am tomorrow, followed by her burial at Tahuna Marae urupā in Waiuku.