Topic: Health

Papa T's fight against cancer

By Aroha Treacher
  • Wellington

He was one of the first teachers in Kōhanga, beginning his 30-year career at the Wainuiomata kōhanga reo back in the early 80s.

Tipene is an exponent of Māori weaponry, and under his tutelage, thousands have learnt the art.

He featured on the programme Toa o Aotearoa, where viewers were taken inside the traditional world of Māori weaponry.

And it's this warrior spirit that he will carry with him as he fights his own battle against cancer.

Tipene Rangihuna, affectionately known as Papa T, says', "I will continue to fight.  This right here is my health and livelihood.  This is the way to healthy living, especially for Māori males."

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer just last month at the age of 63. 

Papa T has a message to all Māori men, to not be embarrassed like he was to go and see a doctor.

Described as a humble and giving man, his family must now come up with nearly $20,000 for surgery at a private hospital.

They have raised $7,000 but still need another $13,000.

His daughter Te Ara Ripeka Rangihuna says, 'We're lucky to have received such wonderful support from Māori, from everyone.'

His family don't want to take their chances on the public waiting list in case the cancer spreads to his bones, and they are doing everything they can to help their loved one before he is due in the doctors' surgery tomorrow morning.