Rangatira / Iwi
Written by: Alice Te Puni
1 Jun 2011

The following article was originally published in the June 2011 Nga Kohinga.

The Knighthood ceremony for Sir Tamati Muturangi Reedy at East Coast marae Hiruharama was attended by more than 500 people on May 25th. Fellow Ngati Porou recipients of the Queen’s honour, Sir Henare Ngata and Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, were on hand to lend their support to the newest member of their auspicious rank, which also includes Sir Apirana Ngata.

Joining the home people were a contingent from Waikato University and the Kingitanga, with the Maori King’s son Whatumoana Paki representing his father Tuheitia, along with iwi representatives from throughout the country and political leaders. Mayor Meng Foon, Minister of Ethnic Affairs and Women’s Affairs Hekia Parata, Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples and Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Parekura Horomia were among the guests.

New Zealand Governor General Anand Satyanand presented Sir Tamati with the insignia of a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to education.

It was not the first time a governor general had convened an investiture at Ruatoria, he said. A predecessor Sir Cyril Newall presented the posthumous Victoria Cross to 2nd Lieutenant Moana nui a Kiwa Ngarimu’s parents, Hamuera and Maraea Ngarimu at Uepohatu Marae in October 1943.

“Ngarimu, a member of C Company of 28 (Maori) Battalion, was awarded New Zealand’s highest honour for gallantry for his outstanding courage and leadership in the attack at Tebaga Gap in Tunisia on March 26, 1943, in a battle that sadly claimed his life.

“During that ceremony 67 years ago, one of the principal speakers was Sir Tamati’s grandmother and Ngarimu’s aunt, Materoa Reedy.” Sir Tamati paid tribute to his grandmother and his wife Lady Te Koingo (Tilly), saying – “behind every great woman sitting here today I hope there is a humble man.”

He encouraged the ready practice of forgiving each other and moving forward together to make a better world for the next generations. Sir Tamati said the knighthood was not for him alone but for “us all”. “It is a beautiful day and I am very humbled by the aroha surroundingus all here,” he said.

Waikato University head of tikanga for the Maori and Polynesian School of Development Te Kahautu Maxwell said Sir Tamati was the most senior Maori academic and a great role model for all academics. Hiruharama Marae chairman Selwyn Parata said he was an inspiration and a noble icon for the Maori world.

Sir Tamati is a noted linguist and educator and holds an MA from the University of Auckland and an MA and PhD from the University of Hawaii. He was a Fulbright scholar in 1983. His many career achievements include Department of Maori Affairs secretary, developing the draftdocument, Te Whariki, which was the basis for a bicultural curriculum now a statutory requirement for all licensed and chartered early childhood education centres.

Sir Tamati was the foundation dean and professor of the School of Maori and Pacific Development at the University of Waikato and appointed as the university’s first pro vice-chancellor Maori in 2001. In 2010 he became the University of Waikato’s first Maori Emeritus Professor, and in the same year, he was also appointed to the Waitangi Tribunal. He chaired an independent panel, Te Paepae Motuhake, established by the Government to review the Maori language sector and strategy. The panel’s report was launched last month .

Kuru Pounamu

Na Kuini Moehau Reedy i tito tenei haka mo Ta Tamati.

Kaea     Te Rau Titapu a te iwi e
             Te rau titapu a te iwi e
             Kakapa te rau titapu
             Kakapa whakarunga kakapa whakararo i te ao e

Kaea     Hei Toki Haemata
             Hei toki haemata tara nihoniho ma waira?
             Hai aha hai aha hai aha hai aha e Ta e
             Hei toki haemata tara nihoniho ma wai ra?
             Hai aha hai aha hai aha hai aha e Ta e
Kaea     Iti hei tiki
             Iti hei tiki rere kotuku nahau ra Muturangi e Ta e
             Iti hei tiki piki kotuku nahau ra
             Hai aha hai aha hai aha hai aha e Ta e
             Tara kaipara ururoa
             Tara kaipara urutoa mo te iwi e
             Te kuru pounamu a
             Te Rangitawaea e Ta e!


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