Ngata works etched across print, radio and television

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Māori broadcasting trailblazer, Tanara Whairiri ki Tawhiti Ngata is now home, as he lies in state on the veranda of his ancestral house Kapohanga at Hiruharama Marae in Ruatoria.

People came from all over the country to pay their respects.

Iwi spokesperson Selwyn Parata says, “There has been a lot of sympathies as Whairiri returns to his homeland and his Te Aitanga a Mate, Te Whānau a Rakairoa and Te Whānau a Karuwai people. Uncle Whai has returned to Ngāti Porou, to his sacred mountain of Hikurangi.”

Growing up in a Māori only speaking household, he was able to master the English language, skills that saw him finish the work of his father by completing and publishing the Ngata Dictionary.

“That [dictionary] was an amazing achievement. Before it, we had the Williams dictionary, but this dictionary collated by his father Hori Mahue Ngata was really comprehensive,” says Parata.

His achievements at Te Aute and St Stephens went on to have a broadcasting career spanning more than 40 years.

Parata says his media career started in print, “He started his work at the Auckland Star then moved into working in radio before eventually going to TVNZ.”

At 1pm tomorrow afternoon, he will be taken to his final resting place at Tūranga Rāhui.