Waka honour for Horomia

By Lawrence Gullery lawrence.gullery@hbtoday.co.nz

A custom made sign and waka display is the latest Hawke's Bay tribute to Parekura Horomia as hundreds prepare to say goodbye to the Ikaroa-Rawhiti Labour MP.

Marie and Jim Edwards, who manage the waka Nga Tuke Mata o Kahungunu, had it on display at their home near Ruahapia yesterday, as their farewell gesture to their favourite political representative.

"He had done so much for us and we had wanted to go up to Hauiti Marae to say goodbye to him. But when we saw on TV that there were hundreds of people already there waiting to see him in the rain, we decided not to go.

"So instead we've done something special for him here as our gesture to Parekura."

Mr Horomia died on Sunday and his funeral will be held tomorrow. He had worked as the MP for the Ikaroa-Rawhiti seat, which covers the East Coast, Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa and Wainuiomata since 1999.

Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana led a group from Kohupatiki Marae near Clive at 2am on Wednesday to Hauiti Marae in Tolaga Bay, where Mr Horomia's body arrived.

"Five buses left Kohupatiki ... another joined us in Wairoa along with 10 vans and 20 cars. In all about 500 people made it to Parekura's tangi.

"But we waited four hours in pouring rain to get on to the marae due to the local throngs."

Mr Tomoana said people from Waikato, including Kingi Tuheitia, joined the Kahungunu group waiting to go on to the marae.

Others included groups from Whanau A Apanui (eastern Bay of Plenty and East Coast regions), Whakatohea (eastern Bay of Plenty), Ngati Porou, Taranaki as well as Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples and Labour Party MPs David Shearer, David Cunliffe and Shane Jones.

The group performed the well-known Kahungunu chant, Pinepine to Kura, E Pari Ra and the haka Tika Tonu which "shook the ground".

"The next speaker said that we left the marae looking like it had been churned up by a herd of wild horses such was the impact," Mr Tomoana said.

"Every speaker speculated on who would fill his (Mr Horomia's) position with (David) Shearer saying that having a first name Parekura would be a great start."

Mr Tomoana said the Kahungunu group arrived home about midnight Wednesday.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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