Dame Aroha Reriti-Crofts passes away, aged 83

By Kelvin McDonald
Photo / Office of the Governor-General

Dame Aroha Reriti-Crofts (Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāi Tahu) has passed away in Christchurch on Friday, aged 83.

"Our whānau are deeply saddened to inform you all that our mother, our taua passed away last night at Christchurch Hospital surrounded by her whanau and favourite waiata at 83 years of age," Dame Aroha's whānau said Saturday morning.

"Be at peace now Taua, you have lived a life of service to your people. Advocating for the betterment for wāhine, whānau, hapū, iwi and Te Ao Māori with the faith in Īhoa always at your side. What a wonderful legacy you have left for your uri to prosper in. We thank you."

She is understood to have gotten Covid-19 over a week ago and been hospitalised as a result.

Dame Aroha was born in Tuahiwi to her parents Edward Teoreorehua Crofts and Metapere Ngawini Crofts nee Barrett.

"Beloved mother to George (dec), Amiria, Tim and Huia. A loved Taua to Jeremy (dec), Kene-Huia, Kelly, Benjamin, Reriti, Hana, Anake (dec), Tia and Manawa. Great-Taua to Nikau. Cherished mother-in-law to Lorraine, Wendy, Nicola and Te Maire. Aunt, cousin and a great mate to many."

Dame Aroha was a member of the Māori Women’s Welfare League since 1968 and served as president from 1990 to 1993.

She was a former chairperson of Māori Women’s Development Inc and trustee of Partnership Health Canterbury and the Southern Regional Health Authority Board of Directors.

She has been rūnanga representative of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu representing Ngāi Tūāhuriri and was chairperson of Matapopore Charitable Trust, culturally advising and guiding developers in the re-build of Christchurch.

Dame Aroha was also a former chairperson of Poutama Training Centre Trust and board member of Ngāi Tahu Development Corporation.

She has been chairperson of Ngā Maia Māori Midwives Trust and supervisor of the Whānau Toko i te Ora Parenting Programme. She was a member of Te Ropu Whakaruruhau Breast Feeding Authority and Te Rōpu Kawa Whakaruruhau.

Dame Aroha was a member of the Whānau Reference Group for the Families Commission, Quest Rapuara, Māori Education Trust, Kōhanga Reo National Trust and Enterprise Waitaha. She was the kaumātua and cultural advisor for the Queen Mary Hospital Group until its closure.

Dame Aroha's whānau says further details are to follow.