Politicians farewell Rudy Taylor

By Whatitiri Te Wake

MPs from both side of the House today paid tribute to Ngāpuhi kaumatua and Labour Party stalwart Rudy Taylor. Taylor died yesterday in Whangarei Hospital. He was 66.

Both the opposition and government shared their condolences.

Labour Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was saddened to hear about Taylor’s death.

“His impact on the Labour Party, it’s quite hard to put that into words. But you can see it in our Parliament. There are MPs and ministers in our cabinet who are there because of the support that they had from Rudy Taylor.

Great loss

“He played a huge role in the New Zealand Labour Party and a huge role in Northland and we're really going to miss him.” 

Northland Labour MP Willow-Jean Prime said Taylor had been a great supporter of the Labour Party.

“The heart weeps for our chief Rudy Taylor. So I acknowledge him and his whānau at this sad time.”

Whangarei-based National list MP Dr Shane Reti said his heart was heavy on hearing the news: “Rudy, rest in peace.”

“I think it’s a great loss to Northland, a great loss to New Zealand.

“He's contributed to the Northland people, been a contributor to Māori, a contributor to rugby league. He will be missed. And we're sending our heartfelt sadness to Rudy and his family today.”

Tremendous mentor

Te Tai Tonga Labour MP Rino Tirikatene said: “From up in Te Tai Tokerau to being at my side down at Murihiku meeting all the Ngāpuhi whanaunga down there in Te Waipounamu, he was a tremendous support and a tremendous mentor, not only for me but for practically all of our MPs.”

Labour cabinet minister and list MP Willie Jackson said the Labour Māori caucus would miss him dearly for his long-standing commitment to the caucus. “He was fearless and great and getting kaupapa off the ground.”

Te Tai Hauāuru Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe: “For us in Te Tai Hauauru, we send our heartfelt aroha to our relation Kaye and the family.”

Taylor’s body is still in Auckland awaiting his final return to his beloved Hokianga.