Volume 59 1950 > Volume 59, No. 4 > Legislators' tributes, p 319-334
(Hansard, Vol. 289, pp. 556-78; Vol. 290, p. 1026.)
The Rt. Hon. Mr. S. G. Holland (Prime Minister):—
“Sir, I move: ‘That this House records its high sense of the devoted and distinguished services rendered to New Zealand and to the British Commonwealth by the late Hon. Sir Apirana Ngata, M.L.C., a former member of the House of Representatives, a former Minister of the Crown, and a member of the Legislative Council, and respectfully tenders to his widow and family the assurance of its sincere sympathy in their bereavement.’
“The Hon. Sir Apirana Turupa Ngata was born at Kawakawa, Te Araroa, near East Cape, on the 3rd July, 1874. 1 His earliest education was at the Waiomatatini Native School, which he entered in 1881. In 1883 he entered Te Aute College, where he matriculated, and where he had the great distinction of winning the Makarini Scholarship in 1885 and again in 1889. Sir Apirana Ngata was a brilliant scholar, and had an outstanding academic career. He continued his studies at Canterbury University College, where, in 1893, he took his Bachelor of Arts degree, thus gaining the distinction of being the first Maori graduate of the University of New Zealand. On leaving Canterbury University College in 1894 he went to Auckland and became articled to Sir Theodore Cooper, of the legal firm of Devore & - 320 Cooper. The fact that in the same year, 1894, he took his M.A. degree with honours in political science is evidence of his energy and ability as a scholar. Not content with these academic achievements he studied law, and in 1896 this brilliant young Maori student completed the final subjects of his LL.B., and thereby became the first member of the Maori race to hold the degrees of M.A. and LL.B.—an achievement which, though equalled many years later, has never been surpassed. In 1897 Apirana Ngata was admitted as a barrister and solicitor, and then began what might have been a notable legal career. Even in those days he was intensely interested in the welfare of the Maori race, and when the Te Aute Students' Association—better known as the Young Maori Party—was formed, Ngata became its secretary, which made it necessary for him to relinquish his legal practice.
“All the energy and ability which Apirana Turupa Ngata had shown in his scholastic career went into his new sphere. In that work he was associated with such great and gifted men as Sir Maui Pomare, Sir Peter Buck, Bishop Bennett, Rewiti Kohere, and other able and noted leaders of the Maori race. From 1902 to 1904 Sir Apirana was Organizing Inspector to Maori Councils. In 1905 he commenced his long political career when he was elected to Parliament representing the Eastern Maori Electorate. He represented this electorate continuously until 1943. In 1946 Sir Apirana again contested this seat, but was unsuccessful. Sir Apirana was appointed to the Executive Council as Minister without portfolio in January, 1909, but resigned in March, 1912. In December, 1928, following the election of the United Government, Sir Apirana was appointed Minister of Native Affairs, Minister of Cook Islands, Minister in Charge of Native Trust, Government Life Insurance, and State Fire Insurance Departments, and member of the Executive Council representing the Native race. Later, in 1931, he was appointed Minister in Charge of the Legislative, Public Service Superannuation, Friendly Societies, and National Provident Fund departments. During this period Sir Apirana was one of the senior members of the Cabinet, as is evidenced by the fact that on one or two occasions during the absence of the Prime Minister overseas and the illness of the Acting Prime - 321 Minister, he presided at meetings of the Executive Council. He resigned his portfolios on the 31st October, 1934. Sir Apirana was knighted in June, 1927.
“Quite apart from the notable part which Sir Apirana Ngata played in the political life of New Zealand, he held many important positions covering a very wide range of activities. He was a member of a number of Royal and other Commissions, including the Royal Commission which was set up under the Native Land Act in 1905; the Commission which inquired into the Te Aute and Wanganui Trusts in 1906; and the Native Land Tenure Commission in 1907. Sir Apirana was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Waiapu Farmers' Co-operative Company from 1912 to 1932; a director of the Tokomaru Bay Freezing Company; a member of the Board of Maori Ethnological Research, the Maori Purposes Fund Control Board, from its inception, and the Board of Maori Arts and Crafts; he founded the Ngati Porou Dairy Company, and was Chairman of that organization for many years, and at various times he was a member and Chairman of the Maori Rugby Football Advisory Board, examiner in Maori to the University of New Zealand up to the B.A. degree; a member of the New Zealand University Senate; a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Art Gallery and Dominion Museum; a member of the National Centennial Council; and President of the Polynesian Society. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature by the University of New Zealand—the first Maori recipient of this high honour.
“Many of us had the privilege of sitting in this House with Sir Apirana Ngata, and we recognized his great ability, his wisdom, his strength of character and his deep sincerity. We appreciated his untiring efforts on behalf of the Maori people. With the clarity which was the mark of all his thinking Sir Apirana Ngata saw very clearly that knowledge of Parliamentary procedure was vital. He made the rules of the House and of debate the subject of special and intensive study and became a recognized master in this field. His knowledge was always available for the newcomer, and many benefited from his experience and wisdom. His keen and agile brain enabled him to seize on points, and his extensive legal knowledge was utilized to the fullest degree throughout his lengthy experience as a member and as a - 322 Minister. As a speaker he combined the colourful eloquence of his race with a gift of close reasoning. In debate he was skilful and convincing, and he always commanded the attention of his fellow-members, who expected constructive criticism, argument worth heeding and sincere advocacy. He was a brilliant orator in both Maori and English and a master of both languages. His written works in Maori and English are many and of the greatest literary and historical value. His works include three volumes of his Nga Moteatea, a most valuable collection of Maori poems, chants and songs; a history of his own people—the Ngati Porou tribe; a number of essays; and up to the time of his death he was one of a number of experts who were engaged on the monumental work of the revision of the Maori Bible. On the 22nd June, 1950, Sir Apirana Ngata was appointed a member of the Legislative Council, but owing to ill-health he was not able to take his seat in the Council. Unfortunately his health continued to deteriorate, and he died at his home at Waiomatatini on the 14th July, 1950.
“New Zealand has lost one of her greatest sons, and today members of this House mourn his passing. It will fall to the lot of future historians to record the outstanding part that the late Sir Apirana Ngata played in the conduct of this country's affairs. As a statesman, as a patriot, as a scholar, as an author, as an administrator, and as a churchman, he was outstanding in each and all of those fields. For half a century or more he was acknowledged as a leader amongst his people, and his profound knowledge of Maori affairs, history, customs, traditions, culture, and arts and crafts, was unsurpassed. Sir Apirana Ngata was a man of untiring energy and charming personality. We shall always remember Sir Apirana Ngata for his great work amongst the young people of his own race. He and the late Sir James Carroll, who played such a distinguished part in the early Maori life of this century, always worked in the closest harmony. In political administration Sir Apirana Ngata made a conspicuous contribution both to Maori land development and to Maori land settlement. He was impatient of red-tape or of rules that stood in the way of early achievement of his objectives. That brought considerable criticism upon him, - 323 and at times considerable suffering. Nevertheless, I do not think anyone ever doubted his integrity, his sincerity of purpose, or his honesty.
“With his passing all has not been lost because modern science has preserved for posterity records of his sayings and of his speeches for the education and training of those who come after him. There have been recorded for all time, records of the laments, the classical chants, the haka, and songs for which he was responsible. Throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand, but particularly in the North Island, we find dotted here and there Maori meeting-houses rich in Maori carvings which have been erected through his inspiration and skilled guidance. It so happened that I had been invited to open a new meeting-house at Waiomatatini in the memory of Sir Apirana Ngata's first wife. I was to have performed that function on the 17th of this month. As I have already said, as a scholar he was awarded by the University of New Zealand the degree of Doctorate of Literature and we remember the pride with which he received that honour, and the pleasure it gave him that his son Henare was capped that very same night with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Sir Apirana Ngata's contribution to the welfare of our Empire took the form, in the main, of the organization and the inspiration behind the formation of the Maori Battalion. He was, I think, amongst the first if not the first, to urge the employment of Maori troops in the recent war, and I remember the great pride he felt in one of the greatest moments of his life when His Majesty the King awarded the Victoria Cross to Lieutenant Ngarimu, one of Sir Apirana's own tribe.
“In my concluding remarks I want to make my personal acknowledgment of the debt I am under to the late honourable gentleman. When I came into Parliament as a new member Sir Apirana showed me, as he showed to other members who were prepared to accept his counsel and coaching, the greatest possible kindness. As I have already said, he was a master of procedure; he was a master of the art of public speaking; he was a logical and incisive speaker. I can recall the time when he sat in the corner on my left and made strong pleas to his European brethren in the House to understand the Maori point of view so that we could - 324 better interpret what he was trying to convey to us. A great man has passed. I have lost a great personal friend. There is no one for whom I had greater respect. There is no one to whom I owed more in the earlier days of my experience here. It may be we shall never see his like again. It is being said, I think in truth, that the last of the greatest Maoris has passed from us.”
The Right Hon. Mr. Peter Fraser (Leader of the Opposition):—
“Sir, I rise with deep regret, sorrow, and sympathy to second this motion before the House. I was here in Parliament with Sir Apirana for a period of about twenty-five years, and we got to know each other very well. We did not always see eye to eye. Sometimes we got into arguments, but a friendship which was formed because of his general widespread interests deepened and strengthened as the years went by.... It is quite true to say that he has passed away full of days and honours, but still the wonder is there that one man could have accomplished and discharged all those multifarious duties.... The thought has occurred to me that never before has this House honoured one who has gone ahead of us who has been so full of great and varied achievements in so many fields.... I recollect his many activities, the building-up of the dairy industries in his own districts, his days and weeks of enterprising work, missionary work, and the work he did in the building-up of the primary industry in the Ngati Porou district. I think of the work he did in connection with the land in the Tokomaru district, and the time he put into Maori affairs on the East Coast. Right up to his last moments he devoted himself to the problem of the consolidation of land—his claim was that the land belonged to the Maori people of the East Coast and that, when the leases fell in, the land should not be leased again, but retained in the possession of the Maoris. Thus, not only could they help to increase production and assist in the economic development of the country, but also develop the lands of the Maori people. But it should not be thought that his sympathies with and interest in the economic and social welfare of the Maori people were confined to the East Coast—they were widespread.... That right to command - 325 was freely acknowledged by his people because, in addition to his intellectual and academic attainments, he had a practical knowledge of Maori affairs to a greater extent than anyone I have ever known. He possessed all the instincts and genius of a poet and he also had the capacity for hard work and organization....
“Then we come to his political life.... My mind goes back to an historic occasion when the Government of the day considered it necessary, because of the resistance of the Opposition during the depression period, to bring in the closure. The man who was consulted by Mr. Forbes more than anybody else on that occasion was Sir Apirana Ngata. It was well known in the years that had gone previously that there were two men who had unsurpassed knowledge of the Standing Orders of the House—Sir Apirana Ngata and Sir William Herries. Sir Apirana Ngata used that knowledge on the occasion I have referred to to stop delaying the business of the House. He had used it on many former occasions to promote delays, and very successfully. Probably, after Hone Heke, who was most famous, if I may be permitted to use the word, as a ‘stone-waller,’ Apirana Ngata, and Peter Buck would come next. Sir Apirana had respect for the House. In that attitude you found that wonderful blend of appreciation of European culture and British institutions of which he was a devoted adherent and champion, and also regret at the lack of understanding on the part of Europeans, and of ourselves in particular, of other cultures, the Maori culture more immediately, for which he was a missionary.
“I well remember how, along with his friend, Sir Maui Pomare, a man whose ability has not yet received its full recognition—I place Sir Maui in the front rank as a Minister of Health—he used to not lecture the House, but gently and incisively point out that there were other cultures in the world.... But his ruling passion was for Maori advancement, Maori culture, Maori arts and crafts, and the establishment of meeting-houses showing splendid specimens of Maori art in carving and tukutuku work. In addition to that he had something greater behind all his love for Maori artistry, in which he was the most prominent artist and teacher. He lost no opportunity of imparting to the young Maori people his own knowledge of the carving and tukutuku work, the - 326 dances, the haka, the songs and chants and poems. Behind all that was his idea of a rallying point for the Maori people so that they would not be lost and cast adrift and made wanderers on the face of the earth either physically or intellectually. The meeting-house was that rallying point. It was important as a place for the development and exhibition of Maori culture, but it was more important as a rallying centre for the Maori people in the district—as a place about which the Maori people could feel as did Europeans about their town halls; a place that was their own, a place where they felt they were a cohesive people achieving advancement onward and upward....
“I would suggest—and there may be much better suggestions—for consideration by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Education and their colleagues that there should be some memorial to Sir Apirana Ngata, perhaps in the nature of a project that was near his heart. I am referring to an agricultural high school in the Rotorua district. Time and time again he discussed that matter with me, and we were working toward it.... He wanted the Maori people to remain on the soil. He realized, as everybody realizes, that once a people are separated from their land they are as driftwood and flotsam and jetsam on the face of the earth. He realized that fact, and rightly endeavoured to keep them on the land, but, like all other people, they could not all remain on the land.... Sir Apirana Ngata's voice will always haunt us. One hears him, sitting here on the Opposition benches, pleading for his people; one hears him criticizing—and there was no more acute or persistent critic ever heard in this House, no more keen or relentless and incisive critic.... It was the lot of Sir Apirana Ngata to occupy important positions and to direct the life of his people. Whatever criticism there was, one thing can be said in retrospect and in the light of events—that is, that Sir Apirana not only started Maori settlement, but started it on modern lines, and that achievement in Maori farming stands as a great monument to him.
“There have been political differences; there have been criticisms of administration; but today stands the work that is a credit to Sir Apirana—a work that is being continued and will be extended. When we consider all the great leaders of the Maori people we realize that probably no man more - 327 than Sir Apirana should be given the credit of setting the Maori people on the way toward a higher future and a more assured future.”
The Hon. Mr. E. B. Corbett (Minister of Maori Affairs):—
“Sir, we have listened with very profound interest to the Right Hon. the Prime Minister and the Right Hon. the Leader of the Opposition extolling the virtues of a great man, and giving a record of this stupendous work during his lifetime in this country. I have said on a previous occasion that by the death of this man we have seen the passing of the last great Maori in New Zealand. Some may think that that was an exaggeration, but I am sure that time will prove that it is only a statement of fact—I am certain that we shall never see such as he again—he was a man so profound in learning, so wide in his scholastic achievements, and yet he was so much a Maori; it is the combination of these indisputable facts that cause me to come to the conclusion that we shall never see again a Maori of such stature in this country. He had an unflagging record of service; no person could be other than inspired by the breadth of the services he rendered to his Maori people and to New Zealand generally, and right through this record of service it was not his own advancement that he sought—his sole object and desire was to serve an ideal, and that ideal was the raising of his people to their rightful place in New Zealand. I recollect some few years ago that he took me to task for saying that the Maori should enjoy equality with the Pakeha. He said, ‘I do not seek equality for my people; equality will mean that they will take in that equality many of the vices of the European.’ He went on to say, ‘What I seek is approximation, with the Maori preserving his own culture, preserving all that is best in him and benefiting from what is best in the European.’ It was approximation he sought, not equality, which I had rather loosely deemed to be the objective of the Maori people.
“Sir Apirana took a very wide interest—he could not have taken a wider one—in all activities for the benefit of his race. In religion, in art and culture, and in material things, he ever sought to lead; at no stage was he content to walk behind, and it was to the higher destinies of his people - 328 that all his energies were bent. His task was not always an easy one; frequently the path he trod was beset by obstacles, and at times, he was sorely tried. I remember the occasion when he vacated the honoured position which I now hold, but he went on quite undaunted, and at no time did his somewhat frail body bend to the shafts of criticism or disappointment. His record of achievement in itself must have been a great consolation to him in his endeavours and strivings. It certainly should have been an inspiration to his people, and it can be an inspiration to any person, brown or white New Zealander. His record as a statesman has been fully referred to here, and I think also his achievements in so far as the material welfare of the Maori people are concerned. With regard to his work in land development, in the founding of the dairy industry in his own district, and his work for the material benefits of his people, I feel that adequate references have been made from that angle.
“I would like to mention another record of achievement, because it is of great importance and that is the lead he took in founding the Anglican bishopric of the Maori race in New Zealand. That was done at the expense of tremendous effort, physical and spiritual. One has only to turn his mind back to the short time since Christianity came to this country—1840—and yet we have a leading Maori who so planned that, in the Anglican faith, as was done by other Maoris in other faiths, but in the Anglican faith in particular, by his strength of purpose and the great logic at his command, he convinced the authorities of the Church that they had a rightful place, and that bishopric was formed. It is worth noting, too, that associated with him was Bishop Bennett, who was the first and is the present Maori Bishop in this country.
“Reference has been made to his early years of successful endeavours to restore Maori art and culture. As has been said, the carved meeting-houses in various parts of New Zealand are an indication of his success in that sphere. He was jealous of the culture of his people. He was proud of them in all aspects of their lives. When he committed to words and writing many of our old Maori chants now in volume form in the Nga Moteatea that the Prime Minister has mentioned, he gave us a factual record of many of the old waiata, patere, and karakia of his people which could, quite - 329 conceivably, have been lost, because for a great many years there has been disinclination by the Maoris themselves to keep themselves abreast of their own culture. Sir Apirana knew that the race would be a poorer people were they to lose that culture. I have very vivid recollections of seeing him in his latter years come out on the marae, frail as a leaf, frail as a falling leaf, to inspire young Maoris in haka parties and poi. His very presence revivified them. He transmitted by his very vitality the spirit of his people into those young Maoris, and those of us who were privileged to see him do that could not but be impressed by the fact that so great a spirit could rest in so frail a body.
“To me he was a great and a good friend. I was associated with him only since 1941, from the time I was actively associated with the political party to which I now belong. He gave me much advice both in the written word and verbally, and his advice was always sound. He never spoke with bitterness, but he did speak with great force. He was incisive in his thinking, and he was just as incisive in his speech. He helped me, and I pay tribute to him for that great help. What he must have been to his people can best be appreciated by taking notice of the state of his race when the Young Maori Party first started its operations and comparing it with his people today. The young Maoris should never forget what they owe to Sir Apirana Ngata, and I am glad that the Minister of Education has decided that the school at Waiomatatini, and all the schools from Opotiki to Gisborne, should be closed for the day, and that all Maori schools will be closed also on Friday afternoon after the headmasters have talked to their pupils and held a fitting ceremony to commemorate this great man. It is to those young Maoris that Sir Apirana Ngata now means so much. We have our memories of him, and we want to see that his achievements are made known to all young Maoris, for whose future he sacrificed so much. He was a man who knew not the meaning of the word ‘sloth.’ I remember that he complimented me on one occasion when I said in the Western Maori District we did not know the meaning of the word taihoa, but we did know the meaning of the words kia tere. He said it was by not standing still that he had achieved what he had for his people. There is little more that I can say, but I would like to record a message I have received from one - 330 section of the Maori people—the Ngati Kahu—because it typifies the numerous messages that have come to me as Minister of Maori Affairs from many parts of New Zealand. This message says:—
‘Greetings to you. I send you and convey the deepest sympathy of my tribe on the death of Sir Apirana Ngata. Farewell, O captain of the canoe of love and goodwill. Your death is a blow to your race. Farewell, and go henceforth to co-minglings with the spirits of the great chiefs who have gone before. Farewell. On to Hawaiki, to the spirit land of Te Reinga. The people sympathize with you and the late Sir Apirana Ngata's relatives in their profound sorrow.’
“That typifies the thoughts of the Maori people throughout New Zealand. This tribe says that the death of Sir Apirana Ngata is a great blow to his race, and I say that no truer word ever was spoken, because he helped in a masterly degree to promote that understanding between our people, without which we cannot go ahead and attain the goal for which he fought so strenuously and so long. I join with the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition in all the tributes they have paid, and as Minister of Maori Affairs I pass on to the people of the Ngati Porou my profound sympathy in the great loss they have sustained, and I acknowledge the service that Sir Apirana Ngata has rendered to all New Zealanders.”
The following cable was sent by Sir Peter Buck, Honolulu, to the Minister of Maori Affairs, the Hon. E. B. Corbett:—
“The Maori people have lost their greatest leader of all time. Your sympathy can do much to wipe away their tears.”
The Hon. Mr. E. T. Tirikatene (Southern Maori District):—
“Sir, I crave the indulgence of the House to express in our customary manner my words of respect to the late - 331 revered Sir Apirana Ngata, and my words of sympathy to his people.
“Na te mamae i huaina ake ai i te reo o tatou tupuna kua riro i te ringa kaha o aitua, kua haruru ki te whenua te totaranui o te waonui a Tane. Haruru ana tona hinganga ano he whatitiri e paoho ana ki nga topito o te motu.
“Aku mihi taurangi ki to tatou hoa, kua pikituria atu nei e ia te pae maunga, te tihi o Hikurangi. Kua heke atu ia ki Paerau ki te reinga, te ao o te wahangutanga e pukei mai ra nga koiwi o nga tupuna o nga matua.
“Kia huri ake au ki nga awa wairere e tere nei: a Waiapu, a Waikato, a Whanganui, a Waimakariri. Huiatu ki nga kopua moana: a Rotorua, a Rotoiti, a Taupo, a Wanaka. He kahui tokomaha, he wai i pupu mai i nga matapuna o Papatuanuku, e tere atu ra ki te waha o te Parata, ano he waikamo, he roimata e ripo kau ana i te piko awa, e tangi ana i te kawenga o te mamae te aroha.
“Tenei tatou nga mema Maori o te Whare Paremata e tuohu nei. He kawenga na te aroha ki a Ta Apirana Ngata, e haehae nei i o tatou tinana ki to tatou matua. Ko tatou nei ana tamariki, nga mea tane, me nga mea wahine. Haere e te hikongauira, haere atu me to whanau e pukai mai ra i te marae o Tumatauenga. Haere atu koutou. Hoe atu i runga i nga waka wairua; whakawhiti i te moanapuhoru ki te huinga o te kahurangi, kaore he hokinga mai.
“Nga mihi taurangi ki a koe e Ngata mo au tino hanga pai ki to iwi Maori. Tenei o hanga hei rahui mai ma o iwi maha; nga moteatea a nga tupuna, nga waiata, nga rarangi whakapapa, nga patere, me nga mahi whakairo. Nau i whakaora nga whare wananga, nga whare karakia hei whakamaharatanga mo nga wa kei te takahuri mai.
“E tautoko ana ahau i nga mihi ki a koe e Ta Apirana Ngata, te uri o nga tangata. Haere te whetumataiata, haere atu i te marae wharanui o Porourangi ki te tihi o to maunga o Hikurangi. Te ao katoa kei te tangi ki a koe te Emepaea, nga moutere o te kotahitanga o te ao kei te tangi ki a koe. Haere koe te pou raiti o te pakeha me nga iwi Maori. E kore koe e warewaretia i nga ra kei te haere mai i muri nei.
“Ahakoa ngaro noa koe ko au mahi tu tonu i roto i tenei Whare Paremata. Oti pu i a koe nga ture whaitikanga, kaore he mea i kore te oti. O nga mea i oti, ko te - 332 ipuakura e kore e piri ki a koe. Haere atu te tama kotahi, te nui o tenei motu, te tangata i herea ki te kupu o te Maori-tanga. Ma te ao koe e tangi i muri nei. Ki to whanau pani, me te iwi i uhia ki te kapua pouri, tangohia toku aroha hei mutunga ake mo taku tangi.
“In endeavouring to translate my Maori remarks into English I shall commence by saying that we mourn the loss of all our dear ones who have passed on through the soft veils of spirit land and whose human voices are heard no longer....
“It is with sorrow that I declare, as I did in Maori, that the hand of aitua has struck the giant totara of the great forest of Tane. Its noise in falling is as thunder reverberating throughout the land. In Maori I paid a tribute to our late friend who has ascended the heights of that majestic mountain in the east, Hikurangi, and on to Pairau and Te Reinga, where we human beings dare to trespass. I have referred to the waters of Waiapu, Waikato, Wanganui, Waimakariri, and to the lakes Rotorua, Rotoiti, Taupo, Wanaka, and all the others that have risen from the bosom of the earth. Their waters have turned into tears of lament and sorrow, and as they make their way down to the sea and lose themselves in the ocean there is lament in their wake. We Maori representatives stand here with bowed heads as a sign of sorrow for Sir Apirana, our elder. We are his children. We express our sentiments and pay our tribute very sincerely and full of emotion. ‘Farewell illustrious and renowned elder. March on with your families who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the great war. With them speed your spiritual and immortal waka, your canoe, to the eternal shores, which are the resting place of the multitude.’
“We pay tribute to the many achievements of the late Sir Apirana Ngata. He has done much for his people in the recording and writing of our genealogies; his presentation and preservation of our arts and crafts, our songs, our legends, our poems; the construction of meeting-houses, Church houses—houses of the characteristic and noble carvings of our great forebears. He reconstructed our meeting-houses endeavouring to perpetuate them for all time. With the sentiments that have been expressed on his achievements - 333 I associate myself and would say, ‘Depart the star of the morning to the great courtyard of Porourangi, to the top of Hikurangi.’ He was a citadel to his people, and, as a loyal and renowned citizen of the British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations, has proved that, in his life's span under the star below which he was born, he has left his name, his deeds, his achievements, as a beacon to Maori and Pakeha alike for years to come. In a few words I would say that, although he has gone, in the political arena and in this House his thrusts were courageous and his parries were classic.”
Mr. P. K. Paikea (Northern Maori District):—
“Mr. Speaker, I desire to associate myself and my Maori people in the Northern Maori District with the motion before the House in extending our profound sympathy to the family and relatives of the late Sir Apirana Ngata, a chief of the highest rank, a gentleman, and a statesman. All those of us who had the pleasure of being at the investiture of the Maori V.C., would recognize that he had no peer as an organizer.... My first meeting with the honourable gentleman was during the initial stages of the Maori war organization of which he was the guiding light. His inspiration and his work in that organization was instrumental in getting a continuity of recruits for the Maori Battalion overseas. Today we mourn his passing.
“E kara, e Api, haere ki te iwi, haere ki te whanau a Tumatauenga. Haere ki o matua tupuna. Haere ki te kainga tuturu mo taua mo te tangata. Ko Hikurangi te maunga, ko Waiapu te awa, ko Apirana Ngata te tangata. Kua riro to tinana ko te wairua me o mahi kei waenganui i a matou. Haere e koro, haere.
“‘O chief Api farewell—today you have travelled along the pathway that has been firmly trodden by your ancestors, your people and the family of the Tumatauenga, the pathway passing through the soft veils into spirit land. Hikurangi is the mountain, Waiapu is the river, Apirana Ngata is the man. Physically you are lost to us, but in spirit, words and deeds, you are with us, and your words and deeds will be a living monument for all time.’”- 334
The Hon. Mr. H. Marumaru (M.L.C.):—
“Mr. Speaker, I deem it a great honour to follow in the footsteps of that great leader, Sir Apirana Ngata, who has just passed on to his long rest. I would like to quote in our own language these words of farewell to that great man:—
“Kua to tenei whetu marama; kua takitaki nga whetu o te huihui o Matariki; kua hinga tenei totara nui ki te wao nui a Tane; kua kore te whakangunguhau o nga manu o te rangi; kua hinga te pou tokomanawa o te whare—Porourangi; kua noho pani te iwi. Aue! te pouri, te tangi e!
“Kua hoki a ia ki Tawhitinui, ki Tawhitipamamao, ki te Honoiwairua. Kua manu a ia i runga i te waka o tenei tangata kaha o Aitua. He mea waihanga i roto i nga pouritanga maha o tenei ao. Kua whiti a ia i nga moana tuauriuri ki te po.
“He tokotoko taokotahi he turanga; he tokotoko rangi ka ngaro te kai. Ka mate te tangata. Haere, haere, haere!
“There I have said, a bright guiding star has gone out into space; the stars in the Maori firmament are getting scarce; the great totara tree of the forest of Tane has fallen; the twittering birds are no longer heard in the sheltering boughs; the midpost of the tribal meeting-house has snapped asunder; the roof leaks and his people are left inconsolate. He has gone to the great Beyond. The canoe of fate, fashioned out of the tree of sorrow has visited the home of our friend and borne him away to those mysterious waters of night.
“With the weapons of man we have equal opportunities, but with the weapons of God food disappears and man passes on his great journey. Farewell, farewell, farewell!
“Mr. Speaker, our great leader was a wonderful leader, a patriot, a true friend of the Maori people. He loved his people and did everything possible during his life to further their interests.”
1 He was the son of Paratene Ngata, of the Whanau a Te Ao, Ngati Rangi, and Whanau a Karuai hapu of Ngati Porou. Paratene was reared in the family of Major Ropata Wahawaha, M.L.C., the firm ally of the New Zealand Government during the Hauhau troubles of the 'sixties on the East Coast, and one of the outstanding military figures in Ngati Porou history. Wahawaha had only one son, Apirana Nohopari, who died when a youth. The latter's name was bestowed upon the son of Paratene Ngata and Katerina Naki, his wife. Katerina was of Te Whanau a Rakairoa hapu of Akuaku, near Waipiro Bay, of which Wahawaha was also a member. Apirana Ngata, when a child, also came under the influence of Wahawaha, to whose wife he was closely related (Harata Te Ihi Wahawaha being a younger sister of Paratene's mother). The old chief was one of the first to discern the boy's intellectual promise, and is credited with having influenced his subsequent educational career.—Ramsden: Sir Apirana Ngata, 1948.