Published: 8 July 2023
Kua hinga te tōtara o Te Waonui a Tāne.
The tōtara in the great forest of Tāne has fallen.
The flags on the Hutt City Council building have been lowered to half-mast this morning to express profound sadness at the passing of iwi leader Dr Ihakara Porutu Puketapu, a relentless champion for Māori development.
Ihakara Puketapu (Te Āti Awa) was born in Waiwhetū, Lower Hutt and was known as Kara Puketapu.
He leaves our community and tangata whenua mourning the loss of a great Rangatira.
Lower Hutt Mayor, Campbell Barry says Dr Puketapu’s contribution to the city and to the entire country is an example of peerless leadership in education, sports, community, the arts, treaty settlements and government sectors.
“We are deeply saddened by his loss and we are incredibly grateful to have had his guiding light of leadership here in our community throughout his long and very rich lifetime.”
“Dr Puketapu made an enormous impact, not only on Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai, but around Aotearoa and in the Māori world. His contributions to Māori communities around the country, and our society, will continue to be felt for generations to come.”
“Kara helped establish the Kōhanga Reo movement, his knowledge of indigenous peoples led him to become a relentless champion for his own people’s cultural development, he was a Māori All Black, with extensive involvement in sport throughout his lifetime, and received an award at the Hutt Valley Sports Awards recently to celebrate that.”
But it was his leadership that stands above all else.
As a patron of the Wainuiomata Marae, he is held in such mana in our community, all those who come after will look up to his as the example to follow.”
Kara’s death comes just weeks after the passing of his brother, Teri Puketapu, Lower Hutt’s first Māori deputy Mayor, who was aged 84.
Kara will lie in state at his cherished Waiwhetū Marae from 8 til 11 July and will be buried at his homestead of Taumairangi in Wainuiomata.
Moe mai rā te Rangatira. Haere, haere haete atu rā.
Sleep well o chiefly one.
Follow this link to read the statement from Te Āti Awa.