Obituary: Atareta Maxwell

Atareta Maxwell, kapa haka leader.

Atareta Maxwell led the leading kapa haka group Ngati Rangiwewehi for several years with her husband, Rotorua deputy mayor Trevor Maxwell, taking it to the top of national competitions.

Her leadership skills have twice been acknowledged as the best in the country through winning the award for kaitataki wahine (best female leader) at the Traditional Maori Performing Arts Festival.

She was also more recently the tutor of the Western Heights High School kapa haka group, the current national secondary school champions.

The soprano was known for stealing shows with her signature song, Hine E Hine, and her singing skills were often called on to judge competitions, such as the Maori Song section of the Lockwood Aria in Rotorua.

Through Ngati Rangiwewehi, the Maxwells took Maori culture to the world several times, including performing at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in Scotland and in 2005 opening the New Zealand Toi Maori exhibition in San Francisco.

Maxwell, a sister of Sir Howard Morrison, is survived by her husband, son Inia and daughter Kahurangi. She died after a short illness.

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