June 26, 2018
Many unsung contributions from statesman Wētere
MP Shane Jones says Koro Wētere changes the trajectory of Maori people with his contributions inside and outside parliament.
The former Western Māori MP died on Saturday aged 83 and his tangi has drawn thousands of mourners to Tūrangawaewae Marae in Ngāruawāhia, including a large number of MPs from across the political spectrum.
Mr Jones, who worked closely with the Ngāti Maniapoto statesman on how the Māori fisheries settlement would be allocated, says his career spanned from the era of the Tainui kuia with their moko kauae to the cellphone generation.
As well as overseeing the control of Māori land to trusts and incorporations, he drove the extension of the Waitangi Tribunal claim process back to 1840.
Many of his contributions as a minister were relatively unsung, such as giving impetus to the Te Māori exhibition.
"Along with Tūmate, an elder statesman of the Māori king movement, he supported and went overseas taking all those extraordinarily valuable taonga and that showcased an element of our identity to the rest of the world and I think assisted in normalising that element of our identity for a broader New Zealand," Mr Jones says.
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