People from across Te Tai Tokerau gathered in Mangataipa to pay tribute to a brother and sister who did everything they could for the betterment of their people. Many of their uri shared stories of how the pair would challenge their families to always do the right thing.
Apotoro Takiwa (Oneroa) Sandy Pihema (73) and his sister Matekino (Buffy) Pihema (67) both affiliate to the hapū of Ngati Kiore, Te Kotahutaka and Ngāti Pari, and are currently laying in state at Makangamuka Marae.
Fondly known as Oneroa, he was a man known for his faith, his fighting spirit, his tokotoko and his song. He was also a strong advocate for hapū rights in the Waitangi Tribunal hearings and known for challenging Minister Andrew Little in the Ngāpuhi Treaty Settlements says “Hokianga will speak for Hokianga.”
As a result, his name will forever be etched into the Ngāpuhi history books.
Hori Chapman of Mangataipa Marae says it's now time for the next person to carry the kaupapa that Oneroa led into the future.
A final service will be held tomorrow at 10am in Mangataipa.