A powerful haka and wailing cries from the crowd serenaded the hearse as Aunty Bea's body left Mourea for the final time.

A treasured teacher, giver, fundraiser, entertainer, author and family woman, Beatrice Piatarihi Tui Yates (nee Grant), died at home on Thursday at the age of 78.

The sun shone down on Te Takinga marae, the river flowed through the Ohau channel and the wind blew off Lake Rotoiti as hundreds of people gathered in the marae ātea.

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People hugged each other in grief as waiata rang out across Mourea, music playing an important part in the funeral, as it did in Aunty Bea's life.

The service was lead by Yonine Kereopa who read from the book of John about eternal life.

"We are on a journey not to a sunset, but a sunrise," she said.

Among the mourners were newborn babies, lifelong friends, whānau and others whose lives Aunty Bea had touched.

Cruz Karauti-Fox said there were generations of people that would still feel her presence through her music, her books and the path she paved for health and education in Rotorua.

"You really were simply the best, better than all the rest."

The outside of the wharenui was adorned with colourful flowers and photographs of Aunty Bea throughout the years.

Her niece Isobel Emery stood among the flowers as she read her eulogy, first in te reo, then in English.


She described her Aunty Bea as a kapa haka queen, singer and entertainer which all culminated in her character, Tina Tuna.

She told a story about Aunty Bea and her large false eyelashes.

"She was just before her time," she said.

"We were a little shocked by them back then, but now everyone is gluing them on."

She praised her for accomplishing so much, all while running a household and raising her children.

"Aunty Bea and Uncle Albert provided all they could for their tamariki and mokopuna.

"In return, they shared their wife, their mum and their nan with Ngāti Pikiao, Te Arawa and Aotearoa. So thank you from all of us.

"We are grateful for that koha you shared with us, we have really enjoyed it and thank you for such a precious gift."

Her last thank yous were for Aunty Bea.

"Thank you for sharing all of your God-given and tupuna-given talents.

"This morning your beautiful mokopuna told me you were everything to them.

"They know that you are proud of them and that you love them."