Iwi from around the country, local government agencies and churches paid their final respects to the late Te Arawa leader Pihopa Kingi. Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says the Ngāti Whakaue chief was pivotal in ensuring Iwi were included in decision-making regarding the City.
Accolades flowed as Iwi from around the country stood to honour one of Te Arawa's great champions.
“Being articulate is very important to me,” said Ngāti Tūwharetoa spokesperson, Te Kanawa Pitiroi.
“His words flowed effortlessly when he spoke. Simply said but deep understanding. That is a legacy he has left us.”
A gentle spirit also descended on the mourners who honoured the Spiritual Shepherd.
“There are two faiths here. Anglican and Catholic,” said St Michaels Deacon, Ben Pomare.
“The whānau who live to the left of the marae are Catholic and those on the right are Anglican. Regardless of the religion, Pihopa King was a man of faith.”
Pihopa Kingi tirelessly advocated for the iwi to have a voice in policy decisions concerning the City. He spearheaded the establishment of Te Tatau o Te Arawa Board in 2015.
“He was hugely supportive of the formation of Te Tatau o Te Arawa, the partnership with the tribe and constantly reminding about the Fenton Agreement and the land which was gifted for the growth of our rohe,” said Mayor Chadwick.
“And that was one of his real legacies to our district.”
Tomorrow night the forecourt of Tama Te Kapua will become a stage for Te Arawa groups to showcase their prowess through traditional Māori performing arts, to honour Pihopa Kingi following the final evening service.