Waikato University collegues mourn Matiu Dickson

By Harata Brown

Tauranga Moana are mourning the loss of Matiu Dickson (Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Whakatōhea) who died suddenly this morning at the opening of a new building at the University of Waikato. 

He was an advocate for Māori initiatives in the legal realm. Today, his colleagues mourn his passing.  

Waikato University lecturer, Professor Te Kahautu Maxwell bid farewell to his colleague, “May you swim in the same waters that your ancestors once did. The university and Māoridom have lost a fine leader. So sir, go on your final journey.”

Te Kāea understands that Mr Dickson stood this morning to deliver a speech on behalf of the Law School. Unfortunately, they were his final words.

Professor Pou Temara says although it is a sad occasion for the university, it is also a sign of his high esteem.

“That building will be in remembrance of him. He worked at the faculty (of Law) for many years. What is iconic I guess, is if we think of it from a Māori perspective that was the price for his building.”

Mr Dickson was the Chairman of Te Rūnanga o Kirikiriroa and a member of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi's council. He was also a former councillor for the Tauranga District Council and a negotiator for the Ngāi Te Rangi Treaty Claim.

“We are still very much in shock. The University of Waikato is mourning the loss of an expert in kapa haka, tikanga Māori, law and more,” says Maxwell.

The respected academic leaves behind his wife Helen, his six children and four grandchildren. Mr Dickson's funeral is expected to take place at Hungahungatoroa Marae in Matapihi, Tauranga.