Tributes continue to flow for Tanara Whairiri ki Tawhiti Ngata

By Heta Gardiner

Māori politicians and former colleagues of Tanara Whairiri ki Tawhiti Ngata continue to pay tribute to the veteran broadcaster today after losing his battle to cancer yesterday.

Although Whai Ngata has passed away, thoughts and warm memories of him will remain within people's hearts.

Waihoroi Shortland says, “It's sad. Our love goes out to him, his family and to us as well, those he has left behind.”

Whai Ngata spent the majority of his adult life in broadcasting.

Those who were on the frontline with him fought for a Māori perspective in a predominantly non-Māori industry.

Shortland says there was no platform before Whai, Derek and those of that group. They paved the way and we have built upon it. 

According to Miki Apiti, “He challenged us to be accurate in how we used our language, to pronounce words correctly, so that Māori could understand and appreciate our language.”

Hemana Waaka says, “Whai was at the beginning of Waka Huia and Te Karere. We have lost a treasure.”

The fruits of his labour remain to this day.

Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare believes we are able to talk in this capacity because of the hard work of people like Whai.

Minister for Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell says, “Our language has been dispensed to the homes and hearts of all New Zealanders; both Māori and Pākehā. It's a lot more than just broadcasting; our histories are now being maintained on our screens. “

His body currently lies in state at Hiruharama Marae.