The people of Te Arawa are mourning the loss of Ngāti Whakaue chief, Pihopa Kingi. Kingi passed away yesterday afternoon at Rotorua hospital surrounded by whānau. He was 88-years-old.
Grand-nephew Kingi Biddle says his passing has left a huge void in their hearts.
“What once was light is now dark at the passing of the heart and soul of Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa as a whole.”
Pihopa was groomed by his elders to continue the legacy left by his father Raniera Te Tawhiti Kingi, following his death in 1969.
Raniera Kingi was active in Te Arawa and Ngāti Whakaue affairs during the 1940’s and 50’s and was part of spearheading the return of land around Rotorua to Ngāti Whakaue.
The land sits under the Ngāti Whakaue lands and Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust. Kingi was a long time trustee of the Trust.
“He was humble and gentle, yet firm when he needed to be. He was the link to the past who passed on the teachings of our ancestors to our elders down to the young in this modern world.”
“He was a Pāwhakawairua who bought the wairua to the Pā. Whenever there was a hui at Te Papaiouru marae, things began once he was present,” Biddle added.
Kingi was also a champion for the physical health of the tribe. He supported his wife Inez to set up the Tipu Ora Health Services in Ohinemutu.
He is survived by his wife, his three sons and many mokopuna.
Kingi will return to his kāinga at Ohinemutu until Thursday. He will then be taken to his marae, Te Papaiouru where he will lay in state in the ancestral meeting house of Tama Te Kapua.
A funeral service will be held for him on Sunday.