PM arrives on eve of Horomia's funeral

The Prime Minister, his MPs and ministers - including the leaders of ACT and United Future - have travelled to Tolaga Bay for the tangi of Parekura Horomia.

It's the third and final day of grieving before Mr Horomia is buried in his family's urupa.

The family-only cemetery at Kohimarama Urupa is being meticulously prepared for Mr Horomia's burial tomorrow.  It would be a hard task for any groundskeeper - but harder still for Hakaraia Horomia, who will burying his brother.

Hakaraia says he's come to terms with his brother's death, but his family has lost its chief.

Mr Horomia's body will be moved to Kohimarama tomorrow after three days lying surrounded by family.

Today was the final day of the tangi - John Key flew in on one of the Defence Force's new $100 million helicopters, with ministers in tow.

Mr Key shunned a speechwriter or notes for his tribute.

"He'd start in Maori, and halfway through be in English then be in another language none of us could understand, then he'd be back in Maori and back in English - it was really quite confusing but by the end of it you saw that passion welling up," said Mr Key.

And although Hone Harawira did his best to avoid the Prime Minister, the anecdotes they shared about Mr Horomia weren't entirely dissimilar.

"I hear all of these talks about him being an orator - but he was a hopeless orator, I mean everyone used to laugh at how bad his Maori was and we were all shaking our heads because we couldn't understand it when he was speaking in English - but he had the ability to speak to ordinary people," said Mr Harawira.

And on the East Coast, where rugby is universal no matter what language you speak, Mr Horomia was a legend on the field - though not necessarily for the right reasons.

"He's legendary for telling the story that he played 100 or so games for the Coast but never won one," says East Coast captain Rua Tipoki.

Mr Tipoki and former All Black Rico Gear say it's their uncle's passion they'll remember most.

"His passion for rugby and the interest he took in us boys being from this area was a privilege for us to know him," says Mr Gear.

And that's a feeling shared by the thousands who came from throughout the country to say goodbye.

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source: newshub archive