An "inspirational" Hawke's Bay teacher who dedicated his life to teaching Te Reo Māori in Japan has passed away.

Henare Akurangi, believed to be in his 40s, was found unconscious in his Fukushima apartment on Tuesday morning (NZT), by a friend.

He had been living in the city for almost 12 years, where he had been contracted to teach at Koriyama Junior High School as an English, Māori and Japanese language teacher.

In the wake of his death, a Givealittle page, set up by his two children to bring their dad home, has received thousands of dollars.

On the page, his family wrote: "We now are looking to bring Dad back from the Japanese consulate where he currently lies on his own until we can go and receive him to return him back home, here in NZ with his whānau and friends.

Advertisement

"We sincerely appreciate any support and contribution. Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu tonu."

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo was providing consular assistance to the family of a New Zealander who has died in Japan.

Prior to moving overseas, Akarangi was a well-known Māori kaiako at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Napier.

Te Ūranga Waka (School of Māori Studies) head of school, Pareputiputi Nuku, on behalf of those who knew him, said he was "our friend and many of us were students of his".

He was employed within Te Manga Māori, EIT from February 1996 to July 2007, teaching te reo and Tikanga Māori, Māori music, and musical instruments to first-year degree students as part of the BA (Māori) programme.

"Henare is remembered as an inspirational teacher who shared his knowledge with anyone who asked.

"He went over and above his role as teacher and mentor, helping many students over the years and supporting local marae, hapū, iwi events. Henare was a warm, kind man with a great sense of humour.

"Kai taku raukura huia. Auraki atu rā ki te hikahika o Hine-nui-te-pō. Hoki atu rā ki a Koro Tuahine, ki a Kui Materoa, ki a Hone, ki a Tira, ki a Robyn, ki tō rahi i te pō. 'Whiua e Taramainuku tāna kupenga hao i ngā mate, tōia ki Rarohenga rā'."