Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi – also known as Hector Busby – was laid to rest near Kaitaia this week. Reporter Peter de Graaf looks back on some of his achievements, in a life richly lived.

Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi spent a lifetime building bridges.

At first there were bridges of concrete and timber, 158 of them by some counts. They span rivers and gullies the length of Northland, built by the man who'd later be known as Uncle Hek and, finally, Sir Hek.

Later he built bridges of a different kind between Māori and Pākehā because, for all its failings, he believed


Early years


A wish fulfilled

Polynesian triangle closed

No such word as can't

Keeping the knowledge

Arise, Sir Hek

The final journey