The Kiingitanga Movement, Tainui Waka, Māori MPs and hundreds of people at Mataatua Marae arrived to pay their respects to Te Wharehuia Milroy who passed away yesterday after a long illness.
Te Wharehuia was responsible for the first words of King Tuheitia's covenant - "Ko te whakaiti te whare o te whakaaro nui" - humility is the bastion of the generous person.
Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta said, "Wharehuia was a prominent champion of te reo Māori for a number of decades and was highly regarded nationally by whānau, hapū and iwi.
"Wharehuia lived in the Waikato for many years with his late wife Niwa and children. He had a gentle, humble and humorous personality and was generous with the knowledge he possessed about te Ao Māori.
"He will be remembered as a bastion of te reo and a great exponent of his Ngāi Tūhoe reo and tikanga.
"We acknowledge his life work and in particular the generosity of his family who enabled Wharehuia to make a legacy contribution to language revitalisation. Their loss is felt by many and we offer our deepest sympathy at this time," said Nanaia Mahuta.