Horomia honoured at marae celebration

Late Labour MP Parekura Horomia was honoured under sunny skies yesterday at a ceremony on Kohupatiki Marae to celebrate 100 years of it's existence.

A plaque in his memory was unveiled by members of the marae, Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples and Mr Horomia's family, who had travelled down from Gisborne for the event.

Margaret McGuire, Chairman of the Kohupatiki Marae, said Mr Horomia had been a special guest to the marae over the years and had spent a lot of time there during his duties in the Ikaroa-Rawhiti electorate.

The day was the product of a year of "serious planning" Mrs McGuire said yesterday.

"Parekura was such a darling friend of ours. We wanted to invite his grieving family up to share with them. We miss him and we're grieving for him too."

The day started with a full powhiri (welcome) followed by the unveiling and a hangi.

Mrs McGuire said the day was also about the renewal of culture in local youth, who played a big part in the days festivities. "It's about the revival of kapa haka and waiata. Putting the gloss back on them."

Labour leader David Shearer flew in from Auckland to be part of the special occasion.

He said the Kohupatiki Marae was important to the party for many reasons, as it is also the marae of Meka Whaitiri's mother, the candidate Labour has put forward for the now unoccupied Ikaroa-Rawhiti seat.

Mr Shearer said the death of Mr Horomia had left a big gap in the party. "He was our matua, our advisor, our guiding light."

Mrs Whaitiri was also in attendance. She said it was important to her to acknowledge 100 years of the marae she grew up on. "It's also really important that we bought Parekura's kawe mate (memory) to the marae. It's great to see his family here."

Organisers are planning to be on the marae for the next three days.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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