Rongowhakaata leader and parliamentary servant Lewis Moeau passes away

By Talisa Kupenga

Well-known Rongowhakaata leader, dedicated parliamentary servant and a steadfast pillar for his people, Lewis Ruihi Moeau QSO, ED, JP has died. Aged 79 years, he passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by his whānau.

For over 30 years he served and advised most of the Ministers of Māori Affairs, many high-ranking Ministers and Prime Ministers, and guided some of the world’s most well-known dignitaries including Prince Charles, Camilla, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Kate with their son George.

Long-time friend and colleague Piri Sciascia told Te Kāea Lewis was a highly-respected man.

“Lewis exemplified dignity and honour and he took his role very seriously. He told me when working with Governor Generals and Prime Ministers it was not just about being friendly, it was more than that, and it was important to get that balance right.”

But he was also dedicated to his people. Hailing from Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga-a-Mahaki, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri and Ngāti Kahungunu he was the inaugural Chairman of the Rongowhakaata Trust and was one of its lead negotiators. He also petitioned the Government to return Awapuni Moana to Rongowhakaata.

He will arrive at Pāhou Marae, Manutuke and will be farewelled on Monday at 11am.