The wider Kahungunu community is mourning the loss of one of their most accomplished Te Reo Māori exponents.
Materoa Haenga, originally from Ngāti Porou on the east coast, spent most of her life in the Hawke's Bay teaching Te Reo Māori for over 50 years.
Materoa was a part of the first intake of students for The Institute of Excellence in The Māori Language, Te Panekiretanga, and was a translator for The Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori.
Jeremy Mcleod, Director of Te Reo Māori at Ngāti Kahungunu told Te Kāea this morning that “She was one of the top Māori speakers with extensive knowledge of Māori proverbs. One of my fondest memories of her was using the kīwaha “Hāunga, waiho rā, kei te pai tēnā” which pretty much means “It’s okay, all good”. These are some of the things we will miss about her and the other hundreds of people that speak Te Reo today because of her.”
Mr McLeod says “Today Materoa will be taken to Te Ara o Tāwhaki Marae at The Eastern Institute of Technology in Napier where she will stay for two nights, before heading to her birth place in Gisborne. She will then be buried at Taruheru cemetery.