Teresa Hawkins was well-known in the Bay of Plenty for her community efforts, which included supporting Māori businesses, assisting convicts and the homeless and motivating kids.
But she died last month following a long struggle with cancer and her family is now selling her designer wardrobe to raise funds for cancer patients, with the help of the Hinemoa branch of the Māori Women's Welfare League.
Israel Hawkins says his wife has always donated and fundraised for whānau by selling her designer clothes and is pleased to continue to support whānau who struggle with cancer, by doing the same as she once did.
He says he wants whānau to know that the pūtea raised in this coming event isn't going to anyone else but whānau who need it. In this case, donations will be given to Lena Staunton and baby Hazel Mclean who are currently going through their own cancer treatments.
“Neither I nor the Māori Women’s Welfare League will be receiving any of the funds because we agree that Teresa would want to give the pūtea to [the patients] and If we can do that through selling Teresa's clothes, then that's in honour of my darling.”
Hawkins says his wife was a beauty on the inside and out, dressing wonderfully and handling herself elegantly, and he will always do what they both worked so hard to achieve, which is to be able to serve their communities indefinitely.
"My darling dressed beautifully. Trying to figure out why some of her female mates were always like 'Oh I’d get that, I’d get that' and I'd say ‘Oh, what's going on, how come, who is this Trelise Cooper? Is that a Cooper from Ngāti Kahungunu - ‘No you idiot, that's a fashion designer’.
She assisted numerous individuals in her community through the Wera Aotearoa Charitable Trust, and her whānau is proud to carry on her legacy.
Israel says although tangihanga is where people usually pay respect and aroha, sometimes it is just too late to do so.
“We need to create a reason to be together, to be around each other, other than a tangi, because once they go, you can’t get it back, so it’s just encouraging whānau to seek those opportunities to enjoy each other, rather than wait for a tangi to happen”.
"Because cancer sucks, so the more support we give to any whānau the better".
Teresa's Treasures - made up of clothing, shoes and accessories, will be sold on March 18 at Penny Haka, Rotorua.