Maori leader Sir Graham Latimer dies

Sir Graham Latimer
Sir Graham Latimer

Influential Maori leader Sir Graham Latimer has died, aged 90.

Sir Graham, who was knighted in 1980, was a former president of the Maori Council, and also spent time on the Waitangi Tribunal and the Waitangi Fisheries Commission.

RadioLIVE host Willie Jackson, a former MP, says Sir Graham was a pioneer for Maori.

"Because of him and a few others, we got Maori radio, Maori Television today. He challenged the whole concept about Maori language, also around state assets and whether assets could be sold off."

The Maori Council credited Sir Graham as being behind a number of Acts of Parliament, as well as Maori gains in fisheries and broadcasting.

He was associated with Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kahu and Ngāti Whātua.

His wife Emily Latimer died last year in September at the age of 86.

"Today we mourn the passing of a great New Zealander. Someone who made a real contribution and who was a great advocate for Maori rights and interests" - Prime Minister John Key

"Sir Graham Latimer was just a quintessential Maori leader who was able to bridge both Maori and Pakeha politics and walk in both spheres" - Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox

"I remember him as a very staunch advocate, he will be sorely missed" - Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson

"He's a huge loss and has played a huge part in New Zealand politics. He was one of those people like Ranginui Walker who really shook the tree to try and shake the consciousness of young Maori people" - Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell

"Sir Graham Latimer was an inspirational leader, and will be remembered for helping to enshrine the Treaty of Waitangi into law" - Green Party MP Marama Davidson

"I pass on my condolences to his family and whanau and friends. Sir Graham had some good points and some less than good points. This it not the time for me to be talking about that now" - NZ First leader Winston Peters