Te Ao Māori mourns loss of Tikanga Māori exponent

By Tumamao Harawira

Māoridom is mourning the loss of Muriwai Ihakara, who passed away following a long illness.

Muriwai was not only a well-known figure within his tribal boundaries but throughout the country, through his decades-long involvement in Kapa Haka, judging at the prestigious Te Matatini competition as well as leading his Kapa Haka group Te Hikuwai to nationals in 2017.

He served as Te Tumu Whakahaere Māori of Creative New Zealand – The NZ Arts Council for 14 years as a proponent of kapa haka, reo, and tikanga. 

Muriwai was employed as the Kia Mākino Cultural Facilitator at the Ngāti Makino Iwi Authority.

He was the former chair of Te Kura o Rotoiti, a former member of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Pikiao, and chaired Te Awhe Marae – Maketū, Ngāti Pikiao Ahurei, and as the chair of Te Pūkenga Kōeke o Pikiao,  led tribal elders in maintaining whakapapa relationships with other iwi through tangihanga, poukai, koroneihana and other major tribal kaupapa.

Muriwai actively supported marae throughout Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Makino, and other tribal marae. He was also instrumental in the re-establishment of Te Hautapu Umukohukohu Whetū, the Matariki traditions within Ngāti Pikiao, 

Muriwai is currently lying in state on his marae of Wai-iti in Rotoiti, Te Arawa and will be buried on Wednesday.

E te rangatira, haere, haere, haere atu rā ki te pōuriuri, ki te pōtiwhatiwha, ki te pō ka wheau atu ki te muriwai hōu ki Rarohenga, ki a Hine Tītama e pūtiki mai rā i te kāpunipunitanga o ngā wairua.