Ngapo Wehi laid to rest

By Ripeka Timutimu
  • North Island: East Coast

Renowned exponent of Māori culture and arts Dr. Ngapo Wehi was laid to rest in Waihīrere today. Hundreds came to farewell the kapa haka stalwart who is now reunited with his late wife who passed away in 2011.

Ngapo was taken to his final destination. His many mourners expressed their grief through tears and haka.

Te Whānau a Apanui tutor Rikirangi Gage told Te Kāea, “He embodied what being a Māori is all about, through his tone and his body language. That's the characteristics of a leader, and that's who he was.”

The home people of Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki have nurtured many during his funeral, just as Ngapo and Pimia did to those involved in their lives.

Hemi Williams from Te Whakatōhea said, “I didn't have a desire to be involved in kapa haka but when they took me under their wing, just like others who were living in the city struggling to find their ways with Maori issues, he took those people under their wing and showed them the way.”

Te Waka Huia performer Fred Williams said, “All of the people who have come up through the ranks from Ngapo's time, his peers, it shows me kapa haka is alive well and strong.”

But Ngapo's departure makes way for a new generation to lead the way.

Te Matatini chairman Selwyn Parata says, “His lasting message to the younger generation is to stand proud and confident in your language and customs, to guide your family and the future generations.”

Farewell Ngapo, to you and your beloved wife Pimia.

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