King Tūheitia was welcomed on to Otiria Marae today to farewell Ngāti Hine leader Erima Henare. The relationship between Ngāti Hine and Tainui is an historic one which derives through genealogy.
Te Kāea reporter Maiki Sherman is at Otiria Marae and says it has been flooded with ope all day. The biggest crowd to arrive today was that from Waikato-Tainui.
A traditional welcome awaited the Māori King signifying the bond between Waikato-Tainui and Ngāti Hine.
Tukoroirangi Morgan says, “Erima was chosen by the country as their representative to inform Tūheitia that he would be King. That message was delivered the day before the burial of Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu. That is how significant our bond is.
Erima Henare was a member of King Tūheitia's advisory panel, the theme of the chant composed by Mōtai Tangata Rau.
Composer Paraone Gloyne says, “This song derived from him (Erima) as he provided much of the answers when the King Movement came under scrutiny. That's why he is in the first verse. So I'm wondering how that now sits as it was a song about the living.That was a new thing, and it's now become quite well known. But it derived from him. “
Paraone Gloyne says Erima Henare is a huge loss for the Māori language as he helped carry it for many years.
“He was an expert at bringing together his thoughts and instilling them into others who then believed they were their own ideas. That is the type of person we have lost. “
Rāhui Papa says, “Erima of Ngāti Hine. Erima of the Māori Language. Erima of Wellington. Erima of the winds from the four corners. Here we are.”
He certainly wore a number of hats. Tukoroirangi Morgan says that's not an easy thing to do.
“He had a strong command of English and Māori. He grew up in both worlds and so he was a doorway for Māori into the Pākehā world.”
Although that door may now be closed, his legacy lives on.
Tomorrow his body will be taken to Mōtatau Marae where Erima Henare grew up. He will be buried on Monday.