Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi's children farewell their father

By Raniera Harrison

An estimated 2,000 people have attended the burial of Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi KNZM, MBE in Pukepoto.

Amongst the masses were the children of the decorated celestial navigator, who farewelled their father today.

"He would have loved it.  He loved attention," says daughter, Gina Harding.

One of his sons says that the whānau are truly humbled at the estimated 6,000 mourners who arrived to farewell their father.

"I never really knew how well-connected he was around the place.  I had an idea but…when all the crowds turned up it was just amazing," says Selwyn Busby (Te Uri o Hina, Ngāti Te Ao, Te Tahawai).

Puhipi has eight surviving children, two stepchildren and more than 35 grandchildren and great grandchildren to carry on his legacy.  His sons Steven William Busby and Hector Maurice Busby have passed on.

"{I was] quite surprised myself to see all of the people that are interested in his dream," says son, Ken Busby.

Puhipi is buried beside his late wife, Lady Hilda Busby.

"This is overwhelming for myself, it's overwhelming.  My mother was a very popular person too and when she passed away it was a bit like this," says Harding.

His children hope that the voyaging legacy left by their father will forever remain.

"Well, he's left a legacy and I hope it just carries on" says Selwyn Busby.