Topic: Education

Tuhoe icon laid to rest

By Taroi Black
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

People of Tuhoe farewell Hema Temara during her funeral service in Ruatoki. She was a stalwart for the Māori language and upheld the culture among many Māori communities in the Wellington region for almost 50 years.

Tuhoe kaumātua Paki Nikora says, “She worked among so many communities with one purpose, to revitalize the language and the culture. So now, the question is who will continue in her legacy as a true cultural adviser contributing to many issues relating to Māori across the board."

Mrs. Temara who passed away at 71 years old leaves a rich legacy of Māori tikanga throughout her 50-year career among Māori in Tuhoe and the Wellington.

Rawinia Higgins, who worked under Hema, says, “When our marae of Te Tumu Herenga Waka (Victoria University) was built in 1986, she helped orchestrate many gatherings for Māori to contribute towards this particular area which still stands today.”

She also worked for Te Papa Museum for almost 20 years working alongside local tribes such as Te Atiawa, Ngāti Toa and Ngāti Raukawa, and many other iwi throughout the country to display their artifacts and history.

In the 1990s Mrs. Temara alongside Pou Temara and their children eventually created Tu Te Maunaroa haka group, a Wellington-based haka group that would cater to many Tuhoe living in the Capital.  

Ngāti Rangiwewehi former tutor Trevor Maxwell said, “She reminded me of my hoawahine (wife) Atareta. They were very humble people, very strong, wahine toa and it was like in our group and I’m sure that might of happened in Tu Te Maungaroa like many of the members scared of Aunty Dina and I’m sure they were scared of Aunty Hema and I was the one perhaps the peacemaker.”

Hema Temara laid in her family cemetery among her people of Ngati Rongo.