“E ua e te ua tata rahi ana, Ko te hua i te kamo taheke i runga raa. No reira e te rangatira Erima takoto mai I roto I te ringa o Ihowa o nga Mano e moe e.”
We have mourned the contribution of a great New Zealander and on the last day of his final journey we pay our respects to Erima Henare, son of the late Sir James and Lady Rose Henare.
Of Ngati Hine descent Erima has whakapapa connections throughout the North. He was an acknowledged authority on the ancient and modern history, whakapapa, reo and tikanga of Te Tai Tokerau.
Erima carried out numerous roles within his iwi and in the public service. At the time of his passing, he was the chair of Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori (the Māori Language Commission), he has been an adviser to the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, and a board member of the Waitangi National Trust, the Māori Heritage Council, and a personal adviser to many, including Kiingi Tuheitia.
Several hundreds of people travelled to Otiria marae to mourn and pay their respects to Erima and his whanau including Labour leader Andrew Little.
We heard stories about his incessant humour, his ability to recall history and the teachings of his old people, his depth of knowledge of Ngati Hine and his passion for Te Reo Māori. New Zealand has been deeply enriched by his contribution.
As he is laid to rest in Motatau today we would like to say to his children, partner, whanau and the people of Ngati Hine we lament your loss and offer our deepest sympathy.