Marara Te Tai Hook and William Gray recognised for services to Māori

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Marara Te Tai Hook  (Ngāti Kura, Patu Keha) from Te Taitokerau has been awarded a QSM for services to Māori and William Gray (Te Aitanaga-a-Hauiti) of Uawa has been inducted as Officer the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and the community.

At 84 years young, Marara Te Tai Hook is still sharp. “Physically I'm tired but my grandchildren are at home, I'm teaching them do this do that, when you come to the marae when I say jump you jump.”

She's been recognised for her contribution to her people through various marae as a proponent of tradition, pest-control, and Te Reo.

She says, "I'm teaching the next generation the language and the traditions of our people from our ancestors who taught me these lessons."

Also recognised was William Gray of Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti who has served the community of Tolaga Bay supporting marae, the health center, the school, and adult education.

“We're experiencing a world of economic uncertainty, of economic and social unrest. So it's important that we get out there in the field amongst our people.”

A military clergyman for 23 years, the retired captain has high hopes for the future of his people.

“We have the opportunity those wonderful treasures the wonderful gifts of our people with the nation at large that we can share the quality information not only at a national level but the world as a whole.”

Governor General Patsy Reddy says the recipients have enriched the cultural, social and economic fabric of New Zealand.