Ngāti Kahungunu kaumatua Enoka Munro, a strong advocate of te reo Māori and a dedicated educator, has died aged 89.
Munro, born on December 12, 1930, died on September 30.
He was raised in the Munro house in Whakakī, Hawke's Bay, and was the eldest of 15 children to Morehu Horomona and Raniera Munro.
He was encouraged to gain a good education as a young child.
Te reo Māori was the main language used at his home, along with the example of tikanga Māori.
He was awarded a scholarship at the age of 14 and attended Te Aute College for four years.
At the completion of school certificate, he went on to Wellington Teachers' College and became a dedicated educator and devoted his life to the revitalisation of te reo Māori.
He always promoted that "re reo Māori is the first and most important gift we can give to our children along with aroha for our tīpuna and our taonga tuku iho".
He started his career in education as a primary school teacher, and spent 10 years in a handful of North Island schools, including a year at Hastings' Pakipaki School.
This was followed by 15 years with the Department of Education in Christchurch where he worked as an art and craft adviser (which included advising schools on Māori language programmes), and then as a Māori and Pacific Island education adviser, covering most of the South Island.
Munro moved back to the North Island in the late 70s and returned to teaching, this time at secondary level.
He taught social studies and Māori to high school students for nearly seven years, the last two at his former school, Te Aute College.
Before accepting the position as Te Aute, Munro worked as a cultural officer for the Department of Maori Affairs in Hastings.
Munro spent the rest of his working life teaching or advising teachers and schools, and taught Māori language and culture to Hawke's Bay Prison inmates.
In 2003, he stepped into the role of commissioner at Maraenui School, Napier.
He strongly believed Māori language and culture is "an essential part of our New Zealandness''.
In 2003 he told Hawke's Bay Today that New Zealand as "a mature nation will not go anywhere without taking Māori with us".
"Total immersion [kura kaupapa] and bilingual schools play essential roles in ensuring not only the revival, but the survival, of Māori language and culture."
In 2007, Enoka served as a member of the Ngāti Kahungunu Māori Education Advisory Group and had been involved with the iwi reo strategy since.
Munro's nehu will take place on Saturday at Whakakī Marae.