"Uncle Sandy" Parata has dedicated his life to serving others and upholding Ngāti Ruanui traditions, South Taranaki tribal leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer says.
"Ngāti Ruanui rangatira Turangapito Parata, lovingly known as Uncle Sandy, has the heart and trust of the entire community."
The Hāwera man has been awarded a Queen's Service Medal (QSM) in the New Year Honours for services to Māori, youth and health.
The Chronicle was unable to contact him, but Ngarewa-Packer said he was raised by his elders.
Parata has been chairman of nearby Taiporohenui Marae, and chairman of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Ruanui.
A staunch advocate for Māori health and wellbeing, he oversaw the development of the first Māori-owned and operated GP and health services in South Taranaki. It became the Ngāti Ruanui Health Centre and now has 8000 patients.
Parata also served on the Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui Trust from 2007-2018, where he led business investments and gave out grants for sport and education.
On the youth front, he has mentored rangatahi (young people) for more than 20 years, and provided state-approved care for them in his home. He believes young people need non-judgemental guidance to achieve their full potential.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"Whether it's sport, kapa haka, education or arts, our kids are very talented and just need the right support," he would tell Ngarewa-Packer.
Serving on the Police Advisory Board, he helped bring regional police, rangatahi, iwi, hapū and Māori wardens into an improved relationship.
South Taranaki District Council has an Iwi Liaison Committee, which Parata has served on since 2005. He received a council Citizen's Award in 2001.
He has officiated at karakia, blessings and tikanga Māori at many marae, at kōhanga and kura, at the council, for the Conservation Department, for Taranaki Regional Council, for Fonterra, for the Western Institute of Technology (WITT) and for businesses.
He represents Taranaki at the koroneihana commemorations held at Tūrangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia every year.
In his youth, Parata played rugby and in later years he advised on it, as well as serving on the committees of the Hāwera Rugby Club and the Taranaki Māori Rugby Team.