Dr Ranginui Walker leaves legacy of activism and academic achievement

By Heeni Brown

Dr Ranginui Walker has passed away at the age of 83. He is survived by his wife Deidre, their three children and many grandchildren. He leaves a lasting legacy of activism and academic achievement.

Prof Pou Temara, who served on the Waitangi Tribunal with Dr Walker said he wasn't one to shy away from going against the tide, “He had the capability to defend the oppression placed upon Māori. He was one who could do this regardless of the situation or topic.”

The Māori rights activist was well respected in society, “We saw the valour within him to stand up for what he believed in,” says Head of the Māori studies department at the Universality of Auckland, Margaret Mutu.

Mutu also acknowledged the support of his beloved partner, “The strength of his wife, Deidre who supported him, while he encouraged us onto the right path to fight for Māori rights.”

Dr Ranginui Walker was also a leading academic.

His work has been acknowledged by University of Auckland Professor of Law David Williams QC, "We raised issues which made many pākāha uncomfortable in those days and Rangi was one of those people who got the message across in a way that other people hadn't yet heard of before."

"This is reason why he sat on the Waitangi Tribunal," says Temara. 

"He held those skills, that knowledge. He also knew how to question the law, and question historical authors because he held that knowledge.”

Te Kāea understands that at this stage Dr Ranginui Walker will be taken to Ōrākei Marae on Wednesday.