Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru at the opening of Māori Television, 2014 - Photo / Māori TV
Esteemed elder and te reo Māori stalwart, Dr Huirangi Eruera Waikerepuru CNZM (Taranaki, Ngāpuhi) has passed away - he was 91 years old.
He was a renowned advocate of te reo Māori, nationally and globally.
Dr Waikerepuru sat on numerous governing boards for te reo Māori and broadcasting, he was also a trade unionist and spent 30 years with the Tertiary Education Union (TEU).
In 1995, he was awarded an honorary doctorate for achievements in tertiary education and Māori language communities.
Dr Waikerepuru and others were instrumental in campaigning for the revival and official recognition of te reo Māori in Aotearoa, this helped lead to the establishment of Māori Television which opened in in 2004. The indigenous broadcaster was officially opened by the late Te Arikinui Ātairangikaahu and Dr Waikerepuru on March 28, 2004.
He was then appointed to the Māori Television's Advisory Council of Elders, Te Kaunihera Kaumātua.
In 2014, Te Kāea sat down with Dr Waikerepuru at his homestead in Pouakai, on the southern base of Taranaki mounga.
At the time, he had been recently awarded a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for his life long commitment to the preservation of te reo Māori and his efforts in seeking recognition for te reo Māori as an official language of this country.
In 2018, Dr Waikerepuru was also a recipient of the Te Toi o Ngā Rangi Lifetime Achievement Award to recognise his profound influence on te ao Māori. (*The award was accepted on his behalf)]
E te pou mataaho o Whakaata Māori, e Huirangi, moe mai rā i tō moengaroa.