May 11, 2021
Waitai brought common sense approach to policing and parliament
A former parliamentary colleague says the late Rana Waitai set a great example for others to follow.
Mr Waitai died on Saturday in Whanganui aged 79.
He was one of the so-called tight five, the five New Zealand First MPs who swept the Māori seats in the first MMP election in 1996.
Fellow tight five-member Tuariki Delamere says before winning Te Puku o Te Whenua Mr Waitai was a police officer for 31 years, ending his career heading the Gisborne district in a way that set the standard for common sense policing and showed he had not forgotten his roots.
"When he left school in 1961 he was 17 I think and his first jobs were working in the freezing works and as a bushman. He pulled himself up, joined the cops, and with the support of the Police he got his bachelors degree, masters degree in public policy in the 1970s, and we became colleagues in parliament in 1996, and we had a great three-plus half years there," he says.
Tuariki Delamere says after being voted out of parliament Rana Waitai completed a law degree and practised in Whanganui until his retirement. He also served on the Whanganui District Council and the Whanganui district health board.
Rana Donald Waitai is lying at Rātana Pā, where his funeral service will be held on Thursday morning.
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