October 05, 2016
Kaitiaki of Ngawha dies
A Ngapuhi kaumatua who led opposition to the building of the Ngawha Prison has died at the age of 92.
Former MP Shane Jones says Ron Wihongi was from an illustrious Ngapuhi whanau and a great exponent of the tribe’s reo and history.
He brought that to bear 20 years ago in leading opposition to the Northland regional prison, pointing out the irony that a site where Hone Heke, Penetaui and Kawiti defeated the British soldiers would be used to lock up their great great grandchildren.
"They believed the kaitiaki of the mana of that area was called Takauere, a spiritual force that looked after the Ngapuhi people, in particular those who had suffered injury as a consequence of war or recovering from childbirth etc and this kaitiaki manifested itself in the healing hot water springs," Mr Jones says.
More recently Ron Wihongi made submissions to the Waitangi Tribunal on the way land was taken from his whanau during World War 2 for the Kaikohe Aerodrome and not returned.
Ron Wihongi's tangi is at Kohewhata Marae in Kaikohe.
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