Over 500 people have gathered at Te Takinga Marae in Mourea to farewell haka exponent Reverend Napi Tutewehiwehi Waaka OBE who died last Wednesday. Today he was taken to his final resting place at Motutawa.
Eraia Kiel of Te Arawa remembers him for his humour, “Anything to do with humour, lifting people's spirits even though the occasion was heavy or there was conflict regarding the current affairs of the time- if Koro Napi was there he would brighten up the mood.”
During his four-day tangi more than 5000 people have come to Te Takinga Marae from all around New Zealand.
Haimona Manuera of the Pātea Māori group says “we are honoured, coming from Taranaki, to sing his songs to him, all of the songs we sang to him he composed and taught us.”
Well-known for his expertise in oratory, music, kapa haka and Māori language revitalisation, his presence will be missed by the younger kapa haka generation.
He is survived by his wife Evelyn as well as his children and grandchildren.