Over 500 people gathered today on Ngāhina Marae in Ruatoki to farewell a much loved educationalist and musician. Te Rurehe John Rangihau died last Friday night after being taken to Rotorua Hospital.
It was a gathering that drew multitudes of people who came to pay their respects to Te Rurehe John Rangihau, affectionately known as 'Boy'.
“Like the white heron's flight, someone of his ilk is a rarity, and we have been left to mourn his loss,” says Te Makariini Temara.
Te Rurehe was an advocate for the Māori language, working for many years as a tutor at Te Ataarangi and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi and other educational institutes.
Ihaka Nopera says, “Te Rurehe was a huge support to Te Heikōkō Katerina Mataira and the elders of Te Ataarangi.”
Of Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue as well as Tūhoe descent, Te Rurehe was a song composer and entertainer, and much of his work was performed at Māori gatherings such as Te Hui Ahurei a Tūhoe.
Te Makariini Temara says, “A descendant of Te Rangiāniwaniwa and Wena, they are the base of the Tūhoe festival, Te Rurehe himself helped run the festival for many years.”
His work will continue in the hands of those he taught and the numerous waiata he composed.