Crowds gather to mourn Pa Henare Tate

By Dean Nathan

Groups have begun to descend onto Motuti marae to mourn Pā Henare Tate, who passed away just yesterday. The beloved spiritual leader just recently celebrated his 79th birthday.  His body was taken to Motuti last night so that the local people could have a bit of time with him before groups from around the country started to arrive.

Tides of love flowed into the ancestral house of Tamatea as people went to pay their respects to Pa Henare Tate.

Paoro Kanara, Ngati Te Maara says, “The families of this community are taking this opportunity to pay our respects and farewell our great leader before the arrival of the multitudes expected to attend the funeral here at Motuti.”

Whilst the majority of visitors today came from Northland, some from further afield had arrived earlier on hearing Pa Henare's call.

Anthony Whata, Ngati Pikiao / Te Arawa says, “He was a knowledgeable man and had a beautiful and strong Māori voice.  He was a historian of the Māori culture and of Catholicism.  Perhaps one day someone like him will rise to lead our families across the country within the Catholic faith.”

Kanara says, “Our greatest wish is that we can host our guests in the manner befitting this occasion.  So as we grieve for his passing we want to ensure that the level of hospitality provided to our visitors is to the fore.”