Yesterday, about 100 whanau and friends farewelled Hone Tuwhare, one of New Zealand's most important literary figures.
Speeches at Kaikohe's Te Kotahitanga Marae recalled a heady life.
The Rev. Wayne Te Kaawa, whose Dunedin church Tuwhare was a member of, said the poet always talked up his tribe's prowess with women. A claim the clergyman couldn't quite believe.
"He'd always say to me, Nga Puhi men are the greatest lovers in the world. But if that's true, how come none of the [Nga Puhi] ladies put their hands up?"
Visiting the best-selling poet usually involved copious amounts of alcohol, he said.
"All of a sudden there would be a gin and tonic in this hand, I'd go to shake his other hand and there would be a whisky and somewhere in between there would be a vodka."
When family and friends were invited to speak, Tuwhare's biographer, Janet Hunt, read a message from publishers Random House. The poet, she said, was never precious about having his work featured in others' books.
"His standard response when asked for permission to include his poems in an anthology would be, 'Yes, send the cheque, immediately.' His charm was irrepressible."
Tuhoe Maori activist Tame Iti said the pair became friends in the "crazy 70s, where all sorts of artists and thinkers bounced ideas off each other. I couldn't keep up with their drinking and womanising. He was a character and I'm always attracted to characters.
"He was the first guy that I actually heard and met that loves words and plays with English. I love language but I wish I could do it like that."
As hymns were sung, the marae family rested hands inside Tuwhare's coffin and stroked his cheek.
One of his three sons, Rob, spoke about the journey his father had made north from his Dunedin home and the importance of bringing him back. After decades, it was a homecoming tribal members did not take for granted as originally Tuwhare had asked to be cremated.
Author Ngahuia Te Awekotuku was one of the last to speak before the casket was closed. She said Tuwhare paved the way for Maori writers - his work gave them permission to use English, to express Maori ideas.
"How we laughed, how we sang, how we drank, how we dreamed great dreams and for many of us you made those dreams possible."
The 85-year-old was buried at Wharepaepae Cemetery.