Iwi and hapū across Northland mourn the loss of esteemed kaumātua, Wiremu Wiremu. For over four decades, he was key in the development of kaihoe at Waitangi and kaitiaki of the scared waka tauā, Ngātokimatawhaorua.
An incoming tide at Waitangi greets the arrival of the body of this esteemed elder on a final visit to his ancestral canoe Ngātokimatawhaorua and the cave of the great ancestress Maikuku.
This morning Wiremu was taken from his home in Moerewa in preparation for a day of visiting places of significance in his lifetime.
"How can I express the passing of our esteemed elder? He is our captain and leader of our canoe through the rough seas and calm waters. He brought together all the people of the North to share our ancestral canoe Ngātokimatawhaorua with all," says Albert Cash (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Whātua).
From there, he was taken to the beginning of his learning on the Tou Rangatiranga of his ancestors.
"We’re totally aware of the current limitations placed on our grieving process and our traditional practices to farewell our highly respected leaders."
From here, our elder will be taken to the ancestral house Te Toka Whakakotahi in Kawakawa before being returned home to Moerewa where he will lie for the night.
"There we will await the arrival of all his siblings coming from afar, and the whānau can discuss how to proceed in the knowledge that their hearts are intent on returning to the settlement of Rāhiri to his marae Piki Te Aroha Marae," says Cash.