Lewis Moeau QSO laid to rest in Manutuke

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Esteemed Māori elder Lewis Moeau of Rongowhakaata was laid to rest today in Manutuke, a man who worked tirelessly for his people and had a career as a public servant spanning more than 60 years.

Hundreds gathered at Pahou Marae where he grew up, raised by his nanny and koroua, a place that he called home.

"He was a well-known man especially in this area of Rongowhakaata and just to see all the rangatahi here is just good for them to know him, know who he was and what he done for us," says Gisborne Boys High School student Tāneatua Hewett.

Throughout his career he was a valued cultural advisor to the Governor General and Prime Ministers alike, they too paid their respects through written letters that were read out at his service.

"They sent their love for our esteemed elder of Rongowhakaata of Pahou who has left us, the many emails and messages from the many past ministers like former prime ministers Helen Clark and John Key as well as the two currently vying for prime minister" says Matai Smith.

Moeau's cultural advice was not only highly-valued by politicians but also by the New Zealand Defence Force.

"That connection there is when we had distinguished guests from overseas arrive into Government House, the NZ Defence Force would be there to welcome them and under his guidance we all knew the right protocols to be carried out during the welcome," says Patariki Hoeta Taituha Smith, Warrant Officer in the Airforce.

He passed away at 79 years old with a legacy that will live on through his six children.