78-year-old Tokoroa (Toko) Te Waru Hikaka Pompey from Ngāti Tamaoho passed away in the early hours of yesterday morning at Franklin Village Rest Home in Pukekohe from a long-term heart condition.
Born in Mercer, alongside the Waikato River, to parents Te Waru Pompey and Rangiwhakaki, Toko grew up at Mangatangi in Franklin-Waikato.
Toko was a consummate performer, saxophonist, singer and songwriter, who was part of forming the band Māori Premiers in the 1960’s.
His talent led him to travel throughout Australasia. He performed in the horn section for world entertainers including Judy Garland in Sydney, in the 60’s and Kenny Rogers in Aotearoa in the 70’s.
His stage name was Sammy D and his act included renditions of Sammy Davis Jnr songs.
Later, after the Māori Premiers disbanded, he was involved in several bands including the Māori Volcanics, Prince Tui Teka, Howard Morrison and John Rowles.
Toko came from an lineage of Kiingtanga supporters. His tūpuna Tohikuri o Waikato was a spokesperson for Te Rata, his father Wanihi Te Waru Pompey was a speaker for Koroki.
Toko was one of the kaumātua for Te Arikinui Te Atairangi Kaahu and King Tuheitia and was known for being entertaining, audacious and comedic on the Tūrangawaewae marae forecourt.
He spearheaded the renovations to Mangatangi marae’s new dining room, Kirihaehae, named after Te Puea Herangi. The kauta (kitchen) is called Tumokai, named after Te Puea’s husband.
He was an advisor in the establishment of South Auckland’s Radio Waatea, Māori Television and Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Puaha o Waikato.
His wife Rangianiwa Pompey passed away in 2006, they had seven children. He is survived by three daughters and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He is lying in state at Mangatangi Marae. A service will be held on Monday at 11am followed by his burial.