Honouring a great leader - Wiremu Wiremu

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

The great tohunga waka, Wiremu Wiremu was remembered today by the many people he touched. Kaihoe, Ngāpuhi and te ao Māori mourn the loss of a great rangatira who was influential in the revival and growth of kaupapa waka across Northland and the world.

People shared memories of his wit and gut instincts, they describe him as a man of his word who would do all he could for the many tāne and wāhine that he took under his wing. 

Ned Peita described Matua Wiremu as a leader who could command a fleet with a single word. 

Albert Cash spoke of the legacy that his rangatira has left behind saying, "We could talk all day about what he left behind but one of his greatest works was binding the older generation with the younger."

Peita shared that the esteemed leader was a stickler for safety on the water and on land and it was clear to see that the same considerations had been put in place by whanau who even in such a painful time sought to keep those who were in attendance safe and in their bubbles. 

He was a Warrant Officer Class 1 in the Military and well-respected among his peers who spoke to those in attendance of his character saying that his achievements are not that of an ordinary man but it takes a special person to reach those heights. 

A leader, a father, grandfather, a mentor who instilled a legacy of mana motuhake, not only in his own uri, but in the entire iwi of Ngāpuhi. 

Matua Wiremu has been laid to rest at Korokota Urupā near Okaihau.