Taranaki mourns the loss of reo and tikanga champion Archie Hurunui

By Whatitiri Te Wake

Archie Hurunui was well known around the Aotea region as one of the many stalwarts who upheld the customary teachings of his ancestors across Taranaki whānui.

Iwi leader and friend Che Wilson acknowledged Hurunui’s efforts and leadership in tikanga and te reo revitalisation.

“Ko ia te iho o hōna marae o Ngā Rauru Kītahi, o Ngāti Ruanui, otirā o Aotea nui tonu”

(He was a champion of the many marae across Ngā Rauru Kītahi, Ngāti Ruanui and wider Aotea region.).

“Nāna ko te reo i te kohanga reo, i ngā mahi ā-iwi, reo irirangi hoki kia ora mai anō ngā tūpuna i te āpōpō”

(It was his voice heard among kōhanga reo, tribal work and on the radio station. So that the teachings of the ancestors will be instilled in the future generations, Wilson said).

Kua ngū te korimako o Taranaki 

A former radio broadcaster for Te Korimako o Taranaki, Hurunui fronted a show specifically designed to strengthen the Taranaki dialect.

Former colleague Tamzyn Rose Pue says Hurunui took up the challenge laid out by the late Dr Te Huirangi Waikerepuru in ensuring the Taranaki dialect was strong.

In his staff biography for the radio station, he said the aim of the show was simple: “He kaihāpai i te hotaka ko Pupuke-te-hihiri.  Ko tōna aronga matua, 'Taranaki reo ka tuku, Taranaki reo ka ora'."

(I’m an announcer for the Pupuke-te-hihiri show. Its main focus is 'Taranaki language to flow, Taranaki language to survive')

"We’re gutted by his loss"

Māori Party co-leader and cousin, Debbie Ngārewa Packer remembers the man who she says contributed a huge amount to the reclaiming of tikanga of the area as a result of “muru raupatu” or land wars.

“Not only was he a grassroots leader, he was also one of our rangatira and one of the few who actually lived here, held up all our marae and Paepae at Waioturi and Pariroa Pā.”

“He lived and breathed our old ways, researched and carried Aotea whakapapa and tikanga that we lost due to displacement of our people with muru raupatu” she said.

He was a strong community leader whose skills went from the touch field to the kapa haka stage.

“He composed many waiata for local rōpū, and especially championed our rangatahi in kapa haka.” she said.

“He led sports in touch ref and led by example, completing multiple Iron Māori, He moved easily amont everyone, all ages and stages.”

Funeral arrangements for Hurunui are still being finalised but Te Ao Māori news understands his tūpāpaku will be taken back to his ancestral marae at Wai-o-Turi, Pātea today.

Kei te kākā tarahae, te ārero pounamu o Ngā Rauru Kītahi o Ngāti Ruanui - moe mai rā.