November 10, 2016
Trailblazer Rea Wikaira passes away
Rea Wikaira, a ground-breaking health manager who rescued Auckland Rescue Helicopter, has died aged 66 after a long battle with cancer.
Mr Wikaira was one the originals at Waipa Kokiri Arts and Aotearoa Institute before it became Te Wananga o Aotearoa, and later came back to sit on the board.
Trained as a psychiatric nurse at Tokanui Hospital under Henry Bennett, he switched to be one of the first Maori traffic officers in the region.
His law enforcement career took him over the Tasman where he ended up in the equivalent of the Australian federal police diplomatic protection squad in the mid-1970s.
On his return to Aotearoa he became general manager of Maori health at the Waikato District Health Board, GM Maori and Pacific Island health at South Auckland Health, and then chief executive of the rescue helicopter trust as it was facing collapse.
He led the recovery to where it is now a world class aero medical organization, for which he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011.
His funeral service at Te Awamutu College’s Otawhao Marae.
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