July 03, 2013
Maureen Waaka created legacy
Rotorua District Councillor and Māori community leader Maureen Waaka is remembered as someone who created opportunities Māori who came after her.
Mrs Waaka died on Monday after suffering a stroke on June 16.
She was 70.
She will be buried today after a funeral at Te Papaiouru Marae in Ohinemutu that has drawn thousands of mourners.
Kingi Biddle says his aunt not only fought for the creation of Māori wards on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and for the district council’s Te Arawa standing committee, she also mentored and trained new members so they would be effective.
In election years Mrs Waaka also talked extensively to Māori groups about the work of the council.
"She was there to impress upon our rangatahi, to impress upon the generations to come the importance of being involved in local government politics and what to do if someone wanted to get in there. She had a quiet presence but she was resolute," Mr Biddle says.
Maureen Waaka's funeral starts at 11 am at Te Papaiouru Marae, and her body will then be taken to Kauae Cemetery for burial beside her mother and father, Rhona and Irikau Kingi.
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