Kihi and Maria are together again.
Yesterday, after an emotional tangi in the rain at Whareroa Marae, Tauranga kaumātua and rangatira Kihi Ngatai was taken on his last journey to Epeha urupā, near Tūtereinga Marae.
Kihi, who died on Sunday at the age of 91, was laid to rest next to his beloved wife Maria, who died four years ago.
"He's been missing her," son Turi Ngatai told the mourners as he gave the eulogy for his father, just a stone's throw from where the couple planted the first kiwifruit vine in Tauranga.
As the service began, the sky opened up and the rain set in. It left Turi with one option.
"I'm singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling I'm happy again," he sang while twirling his umbrella, causing the hundreds of people in attendance to burst into laughter.
Ten years ago Turi gave his first eulogy after his sister Puharangi died. Then in 2017, Maria took her last breath.
"Of course, the only people dancing up there today is my sister Puha, and my mother Maria," he said.
"He has been lonely. He's been missing her, he's been to the urupā - there was a well-trodden track.
"He was ready to go."
Born and raised in the rural harbourside community of Matapihi, Kihi trained to be a train driver before spending two years serving with the military in Korea.
When he returned home he met the love of his life, Maria Ormsby of Te Puna.
"He dressed up in style, but he never ever left a place without a smile," Turi said.
In the late 1950s, Kihi and Maria moved back to Matapihi to run the whānau dairy farm and raise their growing family.
In the mid-1970s the Ngatai whānau became one of the first Māori kiwifruit growers in the Tauranga area.
"He worked hard, he woke up early and went to bed late. That was my father... he worked, he worked, he worked.
"In fact, he put his last row of kiwifruit in the ground last year. A month ago, he couldn't do much, but he was on his bike watching everyone else do the work."
Turi said his parents were a true partnership, "a combination", and if anything they were "mana Māori".
"I love being Māori - because he brought us up Māori."
In 2006, the couple were each honoured with a Queen's Service Medal in recognition for their contributions to Māori and the wider community.
Kihi's roles varied across the Tauranga Moana community including time at the Waitangi Tribunal and as director of Te Awanui Hukapak Limited.
In essence, Kihi spent his life advocating for Māori and for Tauranga Moana.
Turi believed a saying from Maria epitomised the celebration of Kihi's 91 years.
He shared it as he stood in front of countless boards, trusts, council and education staff that had spent time working with Kihi.
"It's not about relationships - it's all about relationships."
And with that, Kihi began his last voyage flanked by kapa haka groups and whānau from across the motu (land).
The emotion could be felt throughout the crowd and heard from across the harbour.
It was a send-off filled with aroha, fitting for a man who had nothing but love for his people.