Students pay tribute to Awanuiārangi Black

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

The sudden passing of Tauranga leader Awanuiārangi Black has shocked his community. He was taken to Te Whetu o te Rangi Marae today where he will lie over the next three days. Koro Nicholas, a former student of Awanuiārangi says that his loss will be keenly felt by the younger generation who thrived on his teachings.

Tauranga Moana came in full force to welcome home a much loved leader with in their community.

Tūtara Kauika kapa haka member Maia Wharekura says, “The Otaua is over filled with the tears, which flows down from our rivers and out to Rangataua sea. One of our great local leaders have passed.”

Awanuiārangi was a strong advocate for the revitalisation of the Māori language and customs. He was a current councillor on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council who fought for Māori to have a voice within that forum.

Te Wharekura o Tauranga Moana teacher Koro Nicholas says, “He was one of those unique people that could connect people together from within Tauranga Moana and around the country that was Awa who could recite genealogy, explain protocols and dialects.”

1000 people were in attendance as his coffin was carried from his homestead to nearby Te Whetu o Te Rangi Marae.  Students from his former school Te Kura o Otepou mourn the passing of a mentor.

“He was a very skilled person who had taught a lot of our younger generation from our children to the youth as you can see on this marae today,” says Nicholas.

Awanuiārangi will remain here until his funeral at 11am Sunday.

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