Topic: Api Mahuika

Iwi leaders pay tribute to Apirana Mahuika

By Numia Ponika-Rangi
  • North Island: East Coast

A giant of history who led his people toward justice and took many others along for the ride.  Iwi leaders across the country have paid tribute to Dr Mahuika for his wealth of knowledge and leadership qualities.

North, South, East, and West, Api Mahuika has some connection with all tribes.

Rahui Papa from Waikato-Tainui says, “When our chiefs travelled the land looking for a base for the Kīngitanga Movement, they approached Te Kani a Takirau, however he uttered the proverb; "My mountain is one that remains here, and stands on its own prestige handed down by its ancestors."

Pou Temara of Ngāi Tūhoe descent says, “A house was built in Ruatoki in Owhakatoro named after Apirana Ngata. That's probably the only meeting house with that name, so now we look at the wharenui and we remember Apirana Ngata, and Apirana Mahuika together.”

Tame Te Rangi from Ngāti Whatua says, “Yes, he journeyed within Auckland and Ngāti Whātua, and the North as an educationalist, and more recent he was well-known for standing up to the Government and the Crown for the good of Māori.”

In education, in politics, whether he was a friend or foe, he was a handy ally and a worthy adversary.

“He challenged the Government, no matter which colour was in power, he fought for Māori issues, for all Māori issues,” says Nanaia Mahuta.

“He was sharp and well-schooled. He was chairman of Te Manukura, a member of the University Council. He received his doctorate here, well deserving of all the accolades,” says Tom Roa from Ngāti Maniapoto.

No doubt in the days ahead, many more accolades will come to light, echoing the sentiments of today. 

Temara says, “Although you've gone, people will speak of you forever. Songs will be written for you, haka will be performed in your memory. You will never be forgotten.”

“There's no words to express the sympathy we feel for the family, for his people, and praise for him who did so much for Waikato and all Māori, rest in peace dear elder,” says Mahuta.

The nation's people, their rivers and mountains will unite as one with the mountain that never moves, to shed tears of mourning at the Waiapu River.

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