The tangihanga for a prominent kaumātua has been relocated to Wairoa Marae after the death of a woman at the marae where the tangihanga was being held.
Hemoata Willison, daughter of Morehu Ngatoko Rahipere says, “We just buried our koroua today, just come back from the urupā. It's a pouri moment, Morehu Ngatoko Rahipere, put him to rest today - dad was 90 years old and had a good-innings, but today was about him and about putting him to rest regardless of anything else happening around us.”
Willie Te Aho remembers Rahipere, “He was a humble elder who supported the Kingitanga movement, the return of lands that were confiscated in Tauranga. He was a good-natured [man] who looked after everyone. When we had the claims, he challenged me in this marae regarding my position as lead negotiator of Ngāti Ranginui. I have a lot of respect and love for this elder.”
The dining hall and kitchen had become a crime scene so the family were forced to transfer the final funeral proceedings to Wairoa Marae.
“This might be a good time for us as a family just to regroup back at Wairoa. Wairoa is where my dad's mum is from and so we are honouring her and the people of Wairoa in terms of the connection there taking our father there for one night as it's turned out we are going back there to have hakari,” says Willison.
While police are combing the crime scene the family's hands are tied in what they can say about last night's events.
A 21-year-old man appeared in the Tauranga court charged with murder. He's been remanded in custody and will appear again on March 7.