Ralph Hotere laid to rest

Today, Ralph Hotere was returned home to be laid to rest amongst his ancestors.

The 81-year-old was widely regarded as one of NZ's most important contemporary artists.

Matihetihe Marae burst into chant to honour a man who preferred to let his art do the talking.

Pita Martin (Te Aupōuri, Te Raukahinga) said, "Yes, he was an activist himself.  He supported the likes of Hone Harawira and co, but through his artwork. For example, the painting 'Raukura' followed Paul Holmes' 'cheeky darky' outburst."

Te Tai Tokerau MP, Hone Harawira said, "Yes, we'd protest, and he'd paint and write.  The difference was he'd get paid for his work, while we got arrested."

Over two nights the family deliberated over where his final resting place would be.

Hione Cemetery is now the final resting place for this leader, who, for most of his life lived a long distance from home.

Hotere is survived by his wife, daughter and three grandchildren.

Reporter:  Dean Nathan