The body of Dr Ranginui Walker has been released. Today, the family along with Te Whakatōhea escorted Dr Walker to Ōrākei Marae where he will lay for three days. Dr Walker was a leader in the world of academics and an activist of Māori rights.
He is a pillar of Te Whakatōhea, who has chosen to lie in Tumutumuwhenua at Ōrākei Marae.
Te Whakatōhea representative Te Kahautu Maxwell said, “It's sad that we couldn't take him back and fulfil our ancestors' traditions; to return to where your umbilical cord is cut to be buried. However, this is Ranginui's wishes, and we aren't surprised.”
With thousands flocking at Ōrākei Marae to give their words of farewell to Dr Ranginui Walker.
In conjunction with the live-streaming of the funeral, Te Whakatōhea will be putting their treaty claims and grievances against the Crown to the forefront of conversation, which is one of many issues Dr Walker helped initiate in the 90s.
"Yes it's time to settle, I mean we need to put that behind us and move forward," says Tuariki Delamere from Te Whakatōhea
“What saddens me also is that he won't be seeing the claim fulfilled. At that time I hoped that he would lead the claim as the head of Te Whakatōhea to its settlement. He put everything he had and his expertise into this claim. Now he rest with his ancestors, those ancestors who were there during land confiscation,” says Maxwell.
It has been 20 years since Te Whakatōhea refused an initial deed of settlement with the Crown, and now iwi spokesperson Te Kahautu Maxwell says they will be working towards a settlement package this year in honour of Dr Walker.