Tributes and remembrance flow for Kīngi Taurua

By Raniera Harrison
  • Northland

Ngāpuhi tribal leader, and veteran broadcaster Kīngi Eruera Taurua (Ngāti Kawa, Ngāti Rāhiri, Ngāti Rehua, Ngāti Whātua) has returned to Te Tii Waitangi Marae from Auckland, where it is widely expected thousands will attend his funeral proceedings.

A great tribal leader etched with the traditional markings of his forefathers, mourners today clearing the spiritual pathway at a closed family service in Auckland for Taurua, who was 80 years of age.

"We all know this is a returned serviceman who went overseas to war, he then returned home to fight for the rights and the self-sovereignty of Māori, and our language" says veteran Māori broadcaster, Scotty Morrison, who worked alongside Taurua at Te Reo Irirangi o Waatea in Auckland.

Taurua passed late last night at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital, after a brief bout with cancer.  Today, he is remembered for his heroics as a tribal leader and activist.

"There's no one like him.  He was noble in his presentation, he possessed the language of our ancestors and all other symbols of a leader.  We need to find a replacement as a voice for the marae, and for the struggle" says the leader of Mana Party, Hone Harawira.

Taurua served in the New Zealand Special Air Services during the Vietnam War.  It was this attitude he continued to foster during his time spent on numerous marae in the North.

"There were times where people wanted to come on to Te Tii Marae in Waitangi to circumvent the correct traditional procedures that need to take place.  This is when Kingi would take a stand to fight for his people," says the former chairman of Te Rūnanga Ā Iwi o Ngāpuhi, Rāniera Tau.

Taurua was an accomplished broadcaster on the national Māori radio network with a career spanning over a decade.  Many say he wasn't afraid to take a stand. 

"He was feared at times. You would never know where you stood with him - either with or against.  There was never a time where he would reveal everything to you at how he saw an issue.  He stuck to what he saw as truth," says northern tribal leader, Te Waihoroi Shortland.

Taurua worked for a short time in the parliamentary sector, serving time in numerous advisory roles.  He also held the position of chief Māori advisor for Jenny Shipley during her tenure as prime minister of New Zealand.

He is survived by numerous children, and a region left reeling at the loss of a fearless leader.

"Even though he was staunch Ngāpuhi, he supported the development of urban Māori also," says Labour MP Willie Jackson.

Te Tii Marae chairman, Ngati Kawa Taituha confirmed to Te Kāea that a delegation of representatives from the northern marae have travelled to Auckland to return Taurua home to his people following a service.  

Te Tii Waitangi Marae have confirmed he will lie in state there for the duration of his funeral.