Māori leader Sir Wira Gardiner dies after illness

Sir Wira Gardiner. Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray.

Prominent Māori leader Sir Wira Gardiner has died at the age of 78.

Sir Wira Gardiner, Lt Col (Retd), died while with his whānau in Gisborne.

Of Ngāti Awa, Te Whakatōhea, Whānau-a-Apanui and Ngāti Pikiao descent, Sir Wira held numerous leadership roles during his long career and his contribution to iwi settlements has been extensive.

In 2009, he was made a Knight of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his contribution and services to Māori.

Tā Wira authored seven books, two on the history of the 28th Māori Battalion, two on the history and tradition of kapa haka, the Fiscal Envelope, a biography of the late former Minister of Māori Affairs, Parekura Horomia, and A Soldier's View of the Vietnam War.

He is survived by his wife, former minister Hekia Parata, and his children, Jeremy and Amy, Ainsley, James, Rakaitemania and Shannon, Mihimaraea, and grandchildren Toroa, May, Arai, Freddie, Mary, Paeumu, Amohaere, and Kingston.

In a statement, Parata and his whānau paid tribute to him and gave thanks to many.

"We thank the people in the public health system in Waikato, Tauranga, Whakatāne and Gisborne for their care and support these past 8 months, with a special thanks to the team at the Kathleen Kilgour Centre, Whakatāne and Tairāwhiti Hospice, Dr Rachel Thomson and the team of anahera at Te Kaha Health Clinic," whānau said in the statement.

"We understood the severe pressures on all those we relied upon for their expertise and support, yet experienced the best that was available.

"We thank colleagues in various parts of the government, public service and Awanuiārangi for their unfailing kindness and grace.

"In accordance with his express wish that public health be prioritised, and the demands on frontline workers be recognised, there will be no tangihanga for Wira at the marae."

They described him as a good humoured brother and brother-in-law and a loyal and appreciative friend and colleague.

"Dedicated to the nation of Aotearoa New Zealand and faithful to the Māori people ahakoa he aha.

"At some time in the future, when our country is restored to ordinary life, we will gather to mark Wira's passing, acknowledge his contribution, and celebrate a good life well lived.

"In memoriam, koha can be made to St John, who do wonderful and vital work and whose services we called upon with great appreciation."


You may also like....


There are no comments on this article.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now