Many came from far and wide to Whangara on the East Coast to honour the life and service of Arch Bishop Brown Turei of the Anglican Church. The leader of the Māori arm of the church Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa and Polynesia who passed away this week aged 92.
"Brown is one of the great leaders, a stand out leader that has been taken, as we are left here to mourn him and honour him as a bishop and father to the nation," says Derek Lardelli.
He is known as a humble man, he was consecrated as Arch Bishop Māori branch of Te Pihopatanga Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia in 2006.
"He is such a great example for the youth of today, he was such a warm person and very humble, someone that only sought after good," says Zhane Tahau Whelan, of the Anglican faith.
He was instrumental in establishing the Tairawhiti kapa haka competition Tamararo which began in 1952 and was the last member of the original committee.
"He loved to see the young children right up to the older ones getting involved, and it wasn't about only haka, but also about self-expression, to uplift their spirits through song all while staying true to their māori heritage," says his niece Charlotte Gibson.
Tomorrow he will make the journey back to Kauaetangohia Marae in Whangaparaoa before being laid to rest.