Tributes from across the country are flowing in following the sudden passing of Te Arawa's stalwart, Mauriora Kingi. At the age of 52, the Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wāhiao leader was the recipient of an award on this year's Queen's Birthday Honours list on Monday, passed away in the early hours of this morning.
Mauriora Kingi had the skill to bring words to life and connect people from all corners of the world.
The announcement of his death this morning comes as a huge shock to the masses.
Minister of Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell says, "I am saddened for those of Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wāhiao, Te Arawa as a whole because he was the face of Te Arawa. On the many marae in this country, when you saw Mauriora you knew that Te Arawa has arrived."
He was the Māori director of the Rotorua Lakes Council, and recently he saw the move to adopt the Te Arawa partnership model.
Kingi sat as a key figure on the Te Puia board and held a wealth of knowledge.
Anaha Hiini (Te Arawa) says, "Firstly, Te Arawa has become poorer with his passing, who knew that the hands of Hinenui-te-pō would call him this morning. But, he has gone, along with his knowledge, genealogy, history of all things Māori. That was him."
On Monday, Mauriora Kingi was awarded the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit and in his acknowledgement to me, he was humbled with the award but was more interested in acknowledging others.
Mauriora Kingi was 52, he leaves a strong legacy for others to uphold.