Parliament stood for a minute's silence on Tuesday to mark the death of Pita Paraone as it does every time a former MP dies.
It was more heartfelt than many others because it was only two years ago he had been a member of the House.
He nearly got back in at the 2017 election at No 11 on the New Zealand First party list but voters gave them only nine.
Paraone was one of those MPs who never made much noise but he had firm views and was not shy about giving them.
For example, the night before his former colleagues were to decide the next government in October 2017, he had no qualms about sharing his opinion with the Herald when it phoned him, saying they should choose Labour.
It wasn't dressed up in rhetoric about dark economic clouds looming on the horizon or putting a human face on capitalism.
One of the main reasons Paraone gave was that going with Labour would help New Zealand First's survival.
Both parties, now in Coalition, are facing a series of very difficult Māori issues that could affect their electoral success if Jacinda Ardern does not handle it well.
Most of the issues include demands for greater control by Māori of state agencies or natural assets.
They run the gamut from the push for separate management of Māori babies at risk and Māori prisoners within the state system, to questions of ownership of water, flora and fauna and what the answers might mean for their management, as well as the Ihumātao occupation.
The Waitangi Tribunal report on freshwater on Wednesday urges someone to test in the courts a concept of native title in water, a call duly answered by Maanu Paul, who has instructed lawyers.
In a move clearly aimed to get as little publicity as possible, a Cabinet-approved work programme on one of the most contentious of all Waitangi Tribunal reports – the ownership of flora and fauna – was surreptitiously posted at 7pm on Wednesday only on social media of Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Maori Development.
It was a decision of the Prime Minister's Office where management of all sensitive issues finally rests.
To assess the political risks and concerns in Labour in dealing with these coinciding Māori issues, you need to look at Labour's past record, when Ardern and Grant Robertson were working in backroom Beehive jobs in tumultuous times.
New Zealand First and Labour laid the foundations of their current relationship in 2004, during Paraone's first term of Parliament, when New Zealand First backed Labour's foreshore and seabed bill.
The bill formally vested ownership of said foreshore and seabed in the Crown and set up a statutory regime for Māori to have customary rights tested and recognised in the courts.
Despite strong leadership by Helen Clark and Michael Cullen, it caused turmoil in the Labour Party. It lost Tariana Turia to a successful break-away party, and Labour Māori MPs who were torn over the issues stayed loyal to Labour.
Paraone was staunch in his support and he didn't care if Māori critics accused him of being colonised.
National should have supported the bill, based on its own position that the Crown owned the foreshore and seabed, but it didn't and it managed to make enormous capital out of what felt like a chaotic period of government.
There was a direct correlation between the unrealistic aspirations of Māori whipped up by the Ngāti Apa Court of Appeal decision and the fears of Pākehā that their own birthright was under threat.
Don Brash at Orewa may have spoken for racists, but perhaps he also spoke for people who did not understand the Government's Treaty of Waitangi obligations, or the "quiet" New Zealanders who would not express their anxieties for fear of being called racist.
We are not back at that state but it would not take much to get to similar conditions, 15 years later, through a series of issues.
National has been relatively moderate so far on the Ihumātao occupation of Fletcher land.
It has raised concerns about the potential for the occupation to re-open Treaty settlements, as has New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, and told the protesters to go home.
It has raised concerns about the possibility of the Government lending Kingitaanga money to effect a settlement with Te Kawerau a Maki – hardly a novel move by a government.
It is almost always met with allegations of being deliberately divisive or dog-whistling by Labour.
Ihumātao does not have the same potency as the foreshore and seabed but it does have potency in what it could represent: the ability of the Government to facilitate a fair outcome, or the inability of the Government to address a weeping wound.
The flora and fauna issue definitely represents the ability of a Government to be sneaky.
The last thing it should be doing is trying to bury the announcement of controversial work, such as the flora and fauna work, from public gaze. That fuels suspicion.
This week's Waitangi Tribunal report on water has again reinforced the concept of Māori ownership of water – without it ever having been legally established.
The report could well fuel Māori aspirations for their rights, whatever they are, to be recognised, even though the Government has no intention of acting on the report this term.
Environment Minister David Parker has made it clear that addressing water quality is a higher priority than water allocation, and he will be making announcements about that next week.
Addressing water ownership may be years away, but anxiety over it lingers.
A quicker way to a resolution – but still years away – may be an iwi or the Iwi Leaders Group to take a successful test case on a specific piece of water.
That could force the Crown into negotiation with iwi to develop something akin to the Fisheries Commission but for water.
Given that the New Zealand First leader believes neither in the concept of treaty "partnership" let alone Māori ownership of water, any such commission would almost certainly have to be the result of a Labour-Greens Government.
It would have been good to get Pita Paraone's take on all of this.