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Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. July 23 1931 – 15 August 2006. A Multicultural Tribute. New Zealand Diversity Forum, Te Papa Tuesday 22 August, 2006. Te rangatira te whaea o Te Motu Tenei te tangi te heke o te roimata Mou kua wehe kua ngaro atu nei

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Te Arikinui

Dame Te Atairangikaahu

July 23 1931 – 15 August 2006


A Multicultural Tribute

New Zealand Diversity Forum, Te Papa Tuesday 22 August, 2006


Te rangatira te whaea o Te Motu

Tenei te tangi te heke o te roimata

Mou kua wehe kua ngaro atu nei

Takahia te ara ki Te Reinga, Te Rerenga Wairua

Ki a rātou nga matua tupuna

Haere, haere ra e whae

Whakangaro i konei


Your honour, Lady of the Land

We all mourn and weep for you

Who have departed from us

Tread the spiritual pathway to Te Reinga, Te Rerenga Wairua

To the host of your ancestors before you

Farewell to you, forever farewell


A mighty kauri has fallen.

This is a tremendously sad day for Maoridom and for all of New Zealand because Dame Te Ata has been one of our great leaders. With 40 years as the Maori Queen, and the head of a very, very big movement in Maoridom, she is acknowledged throughout the country as a great rangatira - a great leader.

Rt Hon Helen Clark

Prime Minister


It's a very sad day.

Dame Te Ata was for 40 years the Maori Queen and she brought to that role a quiet dignity which commanded respect from everybody, both Maori and Pakeha.

Don Brash

Leader of the Opposition


It is with extreme sadness that we mark the passing of Te Arikinui, who has been more than a queen and a spiritual leader to our people; she has been an auntie, a friend, a wife, mother and grandmother to four generations of whanau. Her wisdom has touched so many in her lifetime, that she has many friends all over the world. She will be truly missed.

Nanaia Mahuta

Member of Parliament, Tainui


Like a beautiful butterfly.

She has been an ariki in every sense to the word. I don't know of any other royalty that's been like her. She's carried out the role fantastically - she's been supportive of almost every initiative, she has been a lady at all times and we're going to miss her.

Pita Sharples

Co-Leader, Maori Party


As a calm and unifying leader, Dame Te Ata has worked with all to make this country a more inclusive and peaceful nation for all New Zealanders.

Dame Te Ata maintained a close and long-standing relationship with the people of the Pacific, both in New Zealand and the Pacific. The people of Samoa hold her with great affection.

Luamanuvao Winnie Laban

Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector

Associate Minister of Pacific Island Affairs


Great sadness is felt throughout the Asian community on Dame Te Ata’s passing. I was fortunate enough to meet her several times and I remember her for her wisdom, strength of character and humility. I felt very welcome while in her presence and believe our country is poorer for her loss.

Pansy Wong

Member of Parliament, National List


She was clear and unequivocal. She never sacrificed her responsibility to Tainui, Kingitanga and Maori but she also listened and took account of the interests of New Zealand as a whole.

Rosslyn Noonan

Chief Commissioner

Human Rights Commission


Dame Te Atairangikaahu’s style of leadership was both humble and inspiring. Her influence has been felt very widely. She united New Zealanders and won great respect by leading in a way which we could all emulate.

She has been a powerful influence for positive race relations.

Joris de Bres

Race Relations Commissioner


Many women identified with Dame Te Atairangikaahu through the quiet way she carried out her style of leadership. This is her legacy to her people, to follow in her example.

Merimeri Penfold


Human Rights Commission


Kua hinga he totara nui o te wao nui o Tāne.

Haere ra e te Whaea o te motu. Haere ki te huinga o te kahurangi, ki tua o te ārai, ki o Mātua tupuna kua whetūrangitia. Ka noho atu koe ki te taha o nga Ariki o te Rangi he piringatahi oti atu ai e.

Ko to moemoea mo Aotearoa, ka mau i a matou, kia noho tonu nga Iwi katoa o Aotearoa, ki raro i te korowai rangimarie, kia herea i roto i te aroha tetahi ki tetahi.


A great totara tree has fallen in the great forest of Tāne. Farewell to the Mother of the Nation, the Queen of Hearts, Te Arikinui Te Atairangi Kāhu. You have gone beyond the rainbow, to that place where the sun rises and sets, to the meeting place of our ancestors. You will take your place as Ariki among the great Ariki and the greatest Ariki of All. Your dream of Race Relations in Aotearoa will still be our dream, to be one people in a nation of peace and love. Haere haere haere.

Bobby Newson

Kaiwhakarite, Human Rights Commission


I have known Dame Te Ata for many years and her legacy is one of great dignity, integrity and a gentleness of spirit, rare in most people let alone someone of her standing.

For decades she has been the voice of reason and conciliation and she and her influence will be sorely missed.

Bob Harvey

Waitakere Mayor


For over forty years she has displayed decisive leadership in a calm and dignified manner as befitted her high calling. The years since 1966 when she was designated to lead her people, have been momentous for Maori. Throughout the tumultuous days of the Treaty Settlements, the Maoritanga resurgence and the Foreshore and Seabed legislation, her voice was one of peace, reconciliation and tolerance.

John A Dew

Archbishop of Wellington


We offer our deepest sympathy for a special friend and supporter of PACIFICA. We will never forget how she reached out to us, how she accorded us her hospitality and her aroha as her Polynesian sisters. We acknowledge Dame Te Ata’s connections to our homelands in the wider Pacific region and we offer this Samoan verse specially written for this occasion:

Ua tagi le Fatu ma le ‘Ele’ele

‘Aua’ua pa’ le Aoa tele

Ia tafi mala lau faigamalaga

O le Atua lou ‘oliolisaga

Diane Mara

National President P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A. Inc


The NZ Federation of Ethnic Councils mourns the passing of our Maori Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.   The ethnic, migrant and refugee communities of New Zealand will remember  her for the compassion, wisdom and dignity that was her in all her undertakings.   Thank you and farewell our most lovely Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.  God Bless.

Pancha Narayanan


NZ Federation of Ethnic Councils


Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu leaves a legacy of leadership, vision, quiet dignity and grace to her people as well as to all New Zealanders. Her life embodied passion and conviction. Our heartfelt condolences to Tainui and all who loved her.

    • Ruth DeSouza and Andy Williamson
    • Aoteatroa Ethnic Network

 She personified everything that one associates with the title of Queen. She was a Queen in every sense of the word and as such had the utmost respect of New Zealanders from every ethnic community. She will be greatly missed.

I extend my condolences to her family and the Tainui people.

Wally Hirsh    O.B.E  JP

Former Race Relations Conciliator


Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu

We mourn the loss of this great leader, whose vision and wisdom offer hope for those of us who dare to grapple with issues of diversity in the hope that we might all further enrich the whenua of Aotearoa... Amuia e ua oti oi le Alii.

Satiu Simativa Perese on behalf of the Board and Staff of the National Pacific Radio Trust/NiuFM.


The Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand offers its sincere condolences to the people of Tainui. With you, we mourn the loss of an inspiring leader and a wonderful human being. She was an example for all women, with the multiplicity of achievements that all women aspire to…We honour you, Dame Te Ata, and hope that we will be able to continue your work, and turn your dreams into a living reality.  Be at peace.

Anjum Rahman

Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand


The news of the passing of Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, is reflected in our deep sadness.

Haere, haere, haere.

Charles Mabbett

Asia New Zealand Foundation


The New Zealand Sikh Society (Wellington) Inc. expresses a deep sense of loss at the passing of the Maori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. She was an iconic figure. Gurtej Singh General Secretary New Zealand Sikh Society (Wellington) Inc


To our respected elders, brothers and sisters - assallamo alaikium wrt (greetings). On behalf of the members of the Muslim community of Mount Roskill and Auckland I would like to convey our condolences to the people of Tainui on their great loss. We share in your great loss and feel that a part of us has broken away also. May these small words bring you comfort, words are only words. Was Salam.

Mohamed Moses

Mt Roskill Islamic Trust


The passing away of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the Maori Queen is  a great loss for the nation. Please accept our heartfelt condolences.

Nikki Lal

Migrant Support Services


Kia Ora, Bula, Namaste and As-Salaam Alaykum. On behalf of all our members and whanau, I convey our deepest sympathy at the huge loss of our much beloved Maori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Our nation has lost a great and noble person who was well respected and admired by all. To our Tainui brothers and sisters please accept our very sincere condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Alton (Apirana) Shameem

Founder and President

Fiji Club of New Zealand (FCNZ)


Her passing is a loss for all communities in Aotearoa. We acknowledge her life’s work in promoting peace and reconciliation, providing strong leadership and reaching out to many peoples and cultures.

It has been said that ‘a mighty kauri has fallen’. Undoubtedly Dame Te Ata has left many seeds that will bear fruit for many generations to come – her ability to work and interact with a wide diversity of people is a shining beacon for us all.

Mervin Singham

Director, Office of Ethnic Affairs


It is an end of a legacy but the Maori community and every soul living in this nation will endure her thoughts, her poise, serenity and simplicity in their hearts and minds. People will recall with fond memories her touch and how readily she was accessible in the hour of need. She will never be forgotten and will never be able to disappear into the limbo of forgotten memories. She will always dwell in everyone’s hearts.

Syed Akbar Kamal Darpan-The Mirror Triangle TV


I was saddened to learn of the passing of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, a leader who leaves behind a rich legacy of honour, wisdom and unity. On behalf of Muslim New Zealanders, I extend our condolences to her family. May God grant her peace to her soul and patience to her loved ones…There is a Māori proverb that says “Waiho mā te tangata e mihi” – let someone else sing your praises. Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu was a living embodiment of this proverb and we honour and celebrate her achievements, which New Zealanders will praise for generations to come.

Javed Khan


Federation of Islamic Associations of NZ


A truly royal lady, a leader of immense historic significance who shaped Tainui, Maoridom and Aotearoa New Zealand as a whole for 40 good years.

Te Arikinui’s mana, spirituality and aroha made our country greater, and she became a source of unity, justice and hope for many.

Archbishop Brown Turei

Te Pihopa o Aotearoa


A tribute to a visionary leader much loved and respected. May she live on in all family members and in the hearts she has touched. May the memory of her love and wisdom inspire us all and may Rangatira be at Eternal Rest.  Arohanui. God Bless.

Vivian Chow, Chairperson

On behalf of The NZ Asia Association Inc Auckland


On behalf of the Zimbabwean Community in New Zealand, I would like to express our deepest sympathies to the people of New Zealand on the untimely death of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the Maori Queen. As a community we farewell a Great Leader, Mother and respected advocate of unity. May her legacy continue and the unity among her people strengthen.

Titus Katiyo, Chairman

Zimbabwean Association of New Zealand


We the Ethnic Communities in Lower Hutt mourn the passing of a great lady, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the Maori Queen. Her dignity and understanding of ethnic groups has always been an outstanding part of her personality, a loving thought and earnest prayer, sympathy deep and true, go from the hearts of all of us.

Anita Mansell

Hutt Ethnic Council, Wellington International Filipino Society and Friends of New Settlers


Words are hardly adequate to express one’s compassion and grief, particularly at the death of a relative, a close friend or a compassionate and wise leader. Nonetheless, may I quote the words of our Honourable Prime Minister and say, “Dame Te Ata departs this world leaving her people stronger for her leadership and dedication and having contributed to making New Zealand a better place for us all to live in.” May she rest in peace and may God give strength and patience to her family and people to bear this great loss.

Gul Zaman JP, Secretary

on behalf on theCounties Manukau Ethnic Council Inc.


It was with sadness that I read in The Times yesterday morning while on holiday in Wales of the death of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. The obituary in The Times added under her name “Dignified Queen of the Maoris who  preserved her people's culture and promoted unity in New Zealand". She was loved by both Maori and Pakeha alike and her quiet wisdom and dignified persona will be missed. Haere ra.

Derek Williams, Secretary

Auckland Multicultural Society


The Auckland Regional Migrant Resource Centre Trust Board and staff wish to convey our deepest sympathy on the passing of the Maori Queen who we all held in great esteem. Dame Te Ata was an outstanding example to us all of serene and compassionate leadership. This is an enormous loss. Rest in Peace.

Colin Dale



On behalf of myself and members of Metropolitan Community Churches in Aotearoa, I convey to all Maori of Aotearoa, our sadness and loss in the passing of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the Maori Queen. A wonderful person and mentor to both myself and the people we serve. She will be greatly missed. Arohanui.

Rev Leigh R Neighbour Pastor MCC Auckland


She was loved and respected by all Maori, Pakeha, migrants and refugees of all ethnic people alike, due to her humble and gracious nature. She was a pillar of Maoridom carrying herself as a dedicated tireless leader and ambassador among all communities…We all pray, “ May her soul rest in Peace” She will be sadly missed by our multicultural and multiethnic communities.

S K Thuraisundaram. QSM, JP


I extend my heart felt condolence and tribute to the late Maori Queen on behalf of IQRA (Community Cultural Institution) and members of the Bangladesh Community. We hope the Queen, the symbol of unity of the Maori community, will encourage unity among the population of ethnic diversity in our new homeland, New Zealand.

Sharif Fattah


Ua Gasolosolo Ao, Mafuli le La, ma ua Gasetoto le Masina.

Clouds are on the move, the Sun has Turned and there is Blood on the Face of the Moon.

For the Maori Queen, Dame Te Atairangi Kahu has passed away. We mourn her loss but we find solace in her journey to be with her Almighty God.

Dame Te Ata has been a pillar of dignity and inspired leadership, and her genuine search for a region to be connected to her people is a legacy we will never forget.

She has been a true friend of the Pacific and we will continue to honour her.

Ia manuia lau faigamalaga lau Afioga ile Tupu Tama’ita’i.

Fa’amatuainu Tino Pereira

Deputy Chairman

Samoan Advisory Council Wellington


Dame te Ata-i-Rangikaahu was an exceptional human being. She was a wonderful example of someone who was called to a role she could never have been ready for but in which she successfully developed a formidable combination of insight, dignity, warmth and shrewdness. Perhaps her greatest achievement was to generate among all New Zealanders, Maori and non-Maori, a sense that she was everybody's Queen. History will be very grateful to her for that.

Chris Laidlaw

Former Race Relations Conciliator


To Tainui and the Maori Community:

The New Zealand Chinese Association Inc offers its respects and condolences on the occasion of the passing of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the Maori Queen.

We have all suffered the loss of a great leader of the Maori people whose dignity, wisdom and influence will be sorely missed by the various communities in New Zealand.

Kai Luey

President New Zealand Chinese Association


Dame Te Ata was a remarkable person always bridging the divide no matter how great the gulf. I salute a proud leader of her people and a wonderful New Zealander. A great leader has passed on, but "the lady's" legacy will live from mokopuna to mokopuna.

Gregory Fortuin

SA Honorary Consul and Former Race Relations Conciliator


The New Zealand Tongan community join with the tangata whenua and other New Zealanders in mourning the passing of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the Maori Queen…Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu will be remembered by all for her grace, guidance and the stability she provided in a challenging and changing world.

A Maori Queen who provided leadership for everyone in Aotearoa, as well as across the Pacific region, where Te Moana Nui a Kiwa connects us all...

Faka'apa'apa 'atu

Tongan Advisory Council of New Zealand


The ethnic groups represented by the Waitakere Ethnic Board and the ethnic people of Waitakere join in morning the passing away of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu…We pray for her soul to rest in peace. The important role she played for the Maori community in particular and for the people of New Zealand in general will always be remembered and valued.

Ann Pala , President

On Behalf of the Waitakere Ethnic Board

Waitakere City


Kia Ora Koutou, Nomoshkar

Bengalis share many similarities with tangata whenua, such as the rich traditional culture, respect to kaumatua, a whanau based socio-economic structure and ‘walking backwards to the future’ embracing those who have passed on ahead of us. We will remember the Queen with respect for her leadership in furthering these values, her humble manners and simple lifestyle.

Dr Madhumati Chatterji, President

Probasee Bengalee Association of NZ Inc


We the President and the members of the Auckland Regional Ethnic Council were sorry to hear about the sad demise of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. She was spiritual, holy grandmother, mother, daughter and loved and liked by one and all from the various ethnic communities of wider Auckland. She was regarded by the ethnic community of wider Auckland as most lovable queen of the present time. We all pray for her family who will be missing her very closely.

Auckland Regional Ethnic Council


We feel very sorry about the sad news of the passing away of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the Maori Queen. We would like to express our feelings about this simple, down to earth lady, whom we understood as spiritual guide to the Maori as well as other indigenous people living on the earth. We pray her soul be in rest in heaven.

New Zealand Kannada Koota Inc


Our members have considered Te Ata, the Maori Queen as affectionate, spiritual, humble, loving every human being without any discrimination, She was a true follower of Basava Philosophy, where noble principles like Holiness of work, donating to the needs of the community and devotion were considered important. We pray Basaveshwara to bless all of us to lead our life on the visionary path of our Maori Queen, Te Ata.

Basava Samithi of Australasia –

New Zealand Chapter


For us mother queen of Maori was very special and we found her an affectionate, visionary person, committed for the Maori societies and others at large. We miss her charming and dedicated personality. We pray her soul be at rest in the heaven.

New Zealand Vedanta Education Society


I wish to submit our honoured tribute to the great soul of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu who was regarded as guide, philosopher, spiritual leader, above all humble grand mother, mother, daughter to the loved and close ones. Our community has lost a great soul and honoured lady of the present period. It is huge loss to the country as well as to the community of Maori as well as others as wider community.

Dr Lingappa Kalburgi, Chairperson

Sandringham Community Centre


We share in the loss of the mother of the nation of Aotearoa. We join in hearts to bid her farewell in this life where she set an excellent example in her role as Queen, full of compassion, kindness and consideration for this nation. We greatly mourn her departure and the immense loss suffered by this nation. We pray to the All Mighty to make her onward journey a trouble free one and one that is filled with the light that she had left behind for the nation. Assalamu Alaikum – may your onward journey be filled with peace.

Working Together Group (WTG)

working with Muslim grassroots


We are saddened by the death of Dame Te Ata, a great leader who inspired many in Aotearoa and across the world.  To the people of Tainui and whanau of Dame Te Ata, our heartfelt condolences.  May she rest in peace.Jennifer Janif, Umma Trust, Auckland, Koos Ali Wellington, Mahad Warsame, Chairperson, Auckland Somali Community Association, Hashem Slaimankhel, Afghani Community, Auckland, Arief Saied, Afghani Community, Auckland, Hassan Hosseini, NZ Ethnic Social Services,Auckland


Waikato Ethnic Council Inc wishes to convey their heartfelt condolences on behalf of the Ethnic Community in Waikato to the family of the Maori Queen Dame Te Atairangikaahu and the people of Tainui.  We echo the sentiments of all the people of Aotearoa and praise the great effort of their graceful leader who worked on their behalf for the last forty years.

Nagan Suppiah

President - Waikato Ethnic Council Inc.


Te Arikinui was  a wonderful person and leader. She was a much-loved and hugely respected woman and our thoughts are with her family and people at this time. Her passing away is a huge loss not only for the Maori but all New Zealanders. On behalf of the Trustees, Management and Senior citizens of Shanti Niwas, please accept our heart felt condolences.

Indu Bajaj QSM, MSW

Project Manager, Shanti Niwas


Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu will always be remembered for her grace and dignity. Her ability to bring different ethnic groups together, eliminating disputes and engaging peaceful and meaningful dialogue amongst all, was an incredible “gift”.

Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu's passing is a great loss not only for Maori tribes but for all people living in New Zealand.

Vijeshwar Prasad, QSM, JP, President Ethnic Council of Rangitikei-Wanganui


Oue tulou.  Monu Tagaloa.  Tau manatu fakaalofa ha ko e ha mutolu/tautolu a tau loto momoko.  Fakaaue ha ko e haana a takitakiaga, to nakai nimo. 

Pefi Kingi

NIU Development Inc

National Pacific Problem Gambling Service


Dame Te Atairangikaahu expressed clearly her attachment to whanau and iwi, to tikanga Maori, and showed her love of tradition, support for change, and her aims for unity. The mana of her personality and activities reflected on all New Zealanders, and inspired the striving for a harmonious society in Aotearoa that the interfaith movement also aims for.

 From the range of faiths represented in our Council, we express our hope that her eternal soul will rest in peace.

“Haere ki te Rangituhaha, te marae o Te Matua Nui i Te Rangi. Haere ! Haera ! Haere atu ra”

Wellington Interfaith Council


There is a great sadness at the loss of Dame Te Ata. I was very fortunate to meet her twice. Once was at the 25th anniversary of her Coronation. The other was at a private concert, when the Gypsy King of Hungary met and played the famous Hungarian violin for her – both were very special occasions. I came to this country from other countries, but when I came here I not only found a new country, but the home I never had before. The friendliness and hospitality I experienced in this land, we in the Ethnic Council like to convey to the new migrants that come to our shores. The great presence and the beauty of Dame Te Ata will stay with us for a long time.

Hella Wilson, President

Tauranga Regional Ethnic Council


Queen Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu and Beloved Family

May you always know

That others truly care

And may this help in some small way

To ease the sorrow that you bear

With heartfelt sympathy

Prem Singh (President)

On behalf of the members of the Ethnic Council Wellington


Tena koutou, Assalamu alaikum, greetings and peace.

On behalf of the Council of Christians and Muslims NZ (Inc) we send our condolences on the death of Te Arikinui, Dame Te Atairangikaahu. Her gracious leadership over many years has influenced the life of this nation, across ethnic, cultural and religious boundaries. We give thanks to Almighty God/Allah for her life and her contribution towards peace and justice for all peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand.

 Ashraf Anwar & Bruce Keeley  (Co-Presidents) 


It is with deep sadness that the NZ Jewish Community marks the passing of Dame Te Atairangikaahu and the huge loss to Maoridom of a much loved and loving Queen. We join the nation in our grief for a woman of great worth and dignity who we were honoured to host at the Synagogue in Auckland , and who joined us at a Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) ceremony at Parliament. In the words of the ancient Hebrew memorial prayer El Malei Rachamin "May G-d.of Compassion gather her in the shelter of your wings and may her soul be bound in the bond of life." Stephen Goodman, President, NZJC


I think a fitting tribute to Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu and her leadership would be:

“See in the hearts of my people a love that endures, a faith that inspires and hands that link in unity to bind us in one purpose”.

Nanaia Mahuta

Member of Parliament, Tainui



Dame Te Arikinui Te Atairangikaahu

Maori Queen we farewell you with aroha

Your life of service inspires us to work together

A bridge between our peoples truly building a nation

May we honour you by fulfilling your message of peace

Our children's children will write and sing songs of your life

Aotearoa mourns the passing away of a gracious Mother of this nation

*Tupu tama’ita’i the Samoan word for Queen

Rev Mua Strickson-Pua

Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, Community worker, Educationalist, Artist & Poet.


Te Arikinui

Dame Te Atairangikaahu

July 23 1931 – 15 August 2006