Mataraua prepares to host the masses

Locals banded together at Kaingahoa Marae in Mataraua Valley to prepare for the many visitors that will arrive in honor of their treasured elder who will soon be laid to rest there.

Rick Whiu says he was one of the great leaders amongst the people of Ngāi Tāwake ki te Waoku but our people are fully aware he does not belong to us alone.

Te Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira is one of many who hold fond memories of Paddy Whiu remembering him as a man of few words whose work alone spoke volumes.

He says “ he was the meat in the sandwich and now he’s gone we would be protesting on one side with the police on the other side and Paddy would be in the middle, he was always there trying to instill peace in us so we are here to rightly pay our respects.”

A descendant of Tuterangi Whiu of Ngāti Porou it’s been decided that Paddy who was 63 will be laid to rest this Thursday . His Marae is one of a number of smaller Marae in the Mataraua valley and locals will have quite a challenge at hand to host the multitude of visitors expected over the coming days.

Harawira says Waikato people, Ngāti Porou and Tūwharetoa are only some of the groups making their way to the valley to pay their respects and believes the Marae will resemble a train station over the next few days.

The family says the most important thing for them will be to take good care of all who attend the tangi as that was an integral philosophy of Paddy himself and his people as a whole.

Indeed Mr Whiu was a man of the people and the numbers that turn out to farewell him and the effort his home puts in to making them feel welcome will be a testament to the spirit of this individual.