Kingi Ihaka - Father, soldier, broadcaster and iwi leader

By Peata Melbourne

After a long battle with cancer, War Veteran, TV Broadcaster and cultural advisor Kingi Ihaka of Te Aupouri has passed away at the age of 74. Kingi died this morning surrounded by his family at the Mercy Hospice in Auckland, his son Stephen Ihaka spoke to Te Kāea earlier today about his legacy.

Kingi Ihaka's career as a solider began at Kippenberger cadet classes in Waiouru in 1959 before joining the SAS just two years later.

“They nicknamed him Boy because at the time he was only 19 years of age.”

Kingi served in Malaya and Vietnam. He went on to join the police force as a detective. He was one of the first Māori to join the Armed Offenders Squad and the Anti-Terrorist Squad before he was seduced into the world of broadcasting.

“It was Whairiri (Ngata) who rang my dad and said 'Come, you have successfully contributed to the police force, now come and do your part here'.”

Through all his career, however, nothing had a bigger influence on him than his faith in the Anglican Church. Both his father Toro and his uncle and composer Sir Kingi were men of the cloth.