Iwi from around the motu and officials from the Waitangi Tribunal paid their final respects to reo Māori exponent Te Rangi Karaitiana McGarvey at Tauarau marae in the Rūātoki valley of Tūhoe.
Iwi arrived en-mass to pay tribute to one of Tūhoe sons.
Locals say McGarvey was a humble man, knowledgeable in tribal history and genealogy. He was passionate about his people and dearly loved by them.
“Firstly, I am shocked at his passing because he was still relatively young and secondly I saw him a few months ago and I had no idea that 'Rangiboy' was unwell,” Hemana Waaka (Ngāi Tūhoe).
For many years McGarvey was an English translator for the Waitangi Tribunal at hearings held in the regions of Te Urewera, the King Country, Taihape, Whanganui and Ngāpuhi.
"Rangi's ability to translate Māori into English was second to none,” said Waitangi Tribunal judge, Craig Coxhead.
"Evidence given by elderly women and men and claimants who spoke in our presence. Rangi explained what they were saying to those who didn't understand.”
And Rangi's expertise in the Māori language continues as a legacy by his children.
“He has passed on his teachings to his children,” said Waaka. “Regarding his sons, Haturini he is a fluent speaker of Māori, Tamahou is no different. Their mum holds fast to the dialect of Tūhoe. This is a legacy he held onto from his father.”
Hundreds more are expected to attend the burial service that will take place at 11am tomorrow. Then McGarvey will be laid to rest beside his ancestors in cemetery behind the marae.