Māori activist Titewhai Harawira mourned this Waitangi weekend

  • 03/02/2023

As Waitangi weekend kicks off there will be a noticeable absence following the death of renowned Māori activist and Ngāpuhi stalwart Titewhai Harawira.

Titewhai, who dedicated her life to advancing Māori and championing the Treaty of Waitangi, died last week at aged 90.

Her granddaughter Ngahuia Harawira said she is feeling the loss of her nan this Waitangi weekend. 

"At the moment, myself and my cousins are just staying close to each other because we're feeling it. We're feeling that she's not here at the moment and she's very much a driving force for our whānau coming to Waitangi every single year and not just to attend but also to participate in everything that happens here," Ngahuia told Paddy Gower on AM.

"We're feeling it a lot at the moment."

Ngahuia Harawira.
Ngahuia Harawira. Photo credit: AM

A kawe mate was carried out at Te Tii Waitangi marae to mourn both Titewhai and another great Ngāpuhi leader Nau Epiha.

"It was an honour to bring them both back here to Te Tii this morning and to honour them both," Ngahuia said. "As Māori, we are quite fortunate to be given these opportunities to grieve for our loved ones and feel the aroha from the iwi."

There will be another kawe mate at the top grounds later on Friday. 

"We are sad but we are also very privileged for the honour to honour her."

Titewhai's last hui she called on January 14 was to discuss the Waitangi Tribunal's Te Paparahi O Te Raki Stage Two Report. She insisted the hapū of Ngāpuhi should not miss the opportunity to advance their settlement.

"She knew that she had to front some hard conversations and she did it anyway. I would hope my generation has the capacity to follow that legacy that she's left behind," Ngahuia said. 

"I see a lot of our Māori leaders aren't able to work together because of personal differences and I'd like to think that she's taught us a different way of being able to front hard conversations.

"I think it's our generation who has the capacity to be able to do that."

Watch the video above.