One of the Mid North's most-loved identities has died at the age of 92.

Hau Tautari Hereora, better known as "Papa Hau" or Te Kaupoi o Te Kapotai (The Cowboy of Te Kapotai), was farewelled on Saturday at Waikare Marae, east of Kawakawa.

He was buried at the family's Waihaha Urupā near his Waikare home.

Hereora (Ngāti Pare, Te Kapotai) passed away at home surrounded by whānau late on Wednesday night.


He was known for walking from his home in Waikare to Kawakawa and back until he was well into his 80s, often dressed as a cowboy and always with his harmonica.

Sometimes he would even walk to Mangamuka or Whangārei.

He was an enthusiastic supporter of musical, cultural and community events, such as Kawakawa's Puff and Pull Carnival, bringing an infectious smile and a dash of eccentricity.

Labour MP and Waikare Marae chairwoman Willow-Jean Prime wrote that Papa Hau was ''the epitome of a kaumatua and our hapū are so grateful for all you did for us''.

He was a constant presence on the taumata who loved life and never missed a haerenga (journey) or kaupapa (cause).

''We will treasure the knowledge you imparted to us,'' she said.