Dion was the 'go-to guy' for every pōwhiri or mihi, or when a piece of Te Hiku iwi history had to be explained.
If you Google 'rogue,' you find two possible definitions: a dishonest or unprincipled man, or an elephant living apart from the herd with savage tendencies. Dion Hobson, who was laid to rest at his ancestral whenua at Te Pā a Parore on Saturday, was the latter, exemplifying unparalleled roguish tendencies in his role as kaipūpuri for Whiria te Muka.
Whiria te Muka, a partnership between the police and Te Hiku iwi that aims to reduce and prevent whānau harm, was where Dion's years of working in the iwi and justice spaces culminated to devastating effect, earning him the fond moniker of 'Rogue.'
Aside from his aroha for his whānau and community, the initiative was his raison d'etre, and fuelled his individualistic approach that cut the path less travelled.
A reo me ōna tikanga Māori stalwart, his knowledge and mentorship of his team members was incredibly valuable.
Dion was the 'go-to guy' for every pōwhiri or mihi, or when a piece of Te Hiku iwi history had to be explained. But he would also casually drop you in it, asking that you conduct the opening karakia, thank you very much, while he sat back and smiled with that glint in his eyes that spoke of mischief and trust all at once.
Dion had a larger-than-life personality that could swing effortlessly between depth and humour, brevity and fun, complex dialogue and simple wisdom that left the rest of us struggling to catch up.
He was a weaver of words, a born entertainer who could hold his audience spellbound, whether that be a whānau talking over a cup of tea or a visiting Minister of the Crown who needed some gentle schooling in how we roll up here.
He had a work ethic that smudged the lines of his professional and personal realms, because to Dion a person in need was a person in need, regardless of the hour or day of the week.
He was masterful at breaking down complex justice proceedings for whānau who were at their most bewildered, patient in the face of transformative change and instinctual in knowing when to be soft and when to implement Operation Tune-Up, all while retaining the delicate balance of mana.
Whiria te Muka was the spark to his fire, and he held both partners accountable. He was fond of gripping your hand in his: "You see that? That's the partnership." To the point that he appropriated his own car park at the Kaitaia police station under the lore of tino rangatiratanga.
But if you asked him what he thought about Whiria te Muka his reply would be characteristically to the point: "I (expletive) love this kaupapa."
E Dion, there are no words to articulate the immeasurable loss that we have sustained and will continue to wear as a result of your sudden departure from us. But your legacy will continue to be honoured.
Whenever we see the skies gather in and hear the thunderous crashing of the clouds above, we will know it's you, Rogue, continuing to smash through the complacency and show us the way forward.
No reira, e te rangatira, e moe, e moe, e moe.