Lynley Bilby

Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Family tragedy over shadows campaign launch

Tangi Tipene said she had to set aside her immediate grief and continue with her campaign work during the launch of the Internet MANA campaign. Photo / Getty Images
Tangi Tipene said she had to set aside her immediate grief and continue with her campaign work during the launch of the Internet MANA campaign. Photo / Getty Images

A political candidate who learned of a family tragedy during the launch of her party's election campaign is paying tribute to her dead sister as she returns to the hustings.

Mana list candidate Tangi Tipene received the bombshell last Sunday that her much-cherished eldest sister Glory Reagan had died in Dunedin Hospital moments before Internet Mana officially kicked off their campaign ahead of the September 20 general election.

Tipene - who is in 17th spot on the combined Internet-Mana list - said 74-year-old Reagan, who was blind, suffered a crippling double aneurism on Friday.

"She didn't suffer," said Tipene. "We're pretty pleased about that."

Tipene said she had to set aside her immediate grief and continue with her campaign work despite carrying the sad burden.

"It was a dampner on the day but I had to be professional when I was doing the launch."

Reagan, the eldest of 13 children, was a talented pianist who played with many local artists including blind musicians The Radars and Eddie Low.

She once backed American jazz legend Louis Armstrong when he performed in Auckland.
"She was fabulous. She had lots of talents and she brought up three children as a solo mum."

Tipene's sister's funeral was held in Dunedin on Wednesday.

Tipene is now turning her attention to drumming up support for Internet Mana and urging young Maori women to vote.

- Herald on Sunday

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