Kōtuku Tibble (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Raukawa) has passed away at the age of 53. The teacher, media personality and Māori language champion died suddenly on Sunday.
Mana Epiha of Waka Huia says, "He was hard case, he was cheeky, but I liked that."
A friend and workmate for over 20 years, Mana Epiha is feeling the loss.
"Fierce love was not fleeting when it touched me, it was like a spreading fire inside."
A teacher, a historian, a media persona and a staunch supporter of Māori culture.
"He was a champion for the Māori langauge, brilliant in his media too, so I pay respect to his spirit on its journey."
Epiha and the team at Waka Huia are producing a documentary on Kotuku Tibble.
"He shared that knowledge with us so we could share it with the world."
His tangi is being held at Te Tikanga Marae in Tokorangi, with the burial taking place on Wednesday.