July 11, 2023
Vision of Māori potential flourishing
A former Māori Affairs welfare officer says Māori development today is the result of the belief Kara Puketapu had in the potential of Maori people.
Dr Puketapu died on Friday aged 89.
Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi says he was brought in to run the Department of Māori Affairs in 1977 after its Maori welfare officers complained they were being used to enforce the policies of other government agencies against Maori people.
“Kara was not a procrastinator. He did not believe in one hui and another hui and another hui. He just said ‘what do you think?’ and we said ‘we’re not going to talk about Maori problems. We are going to talk about Maori potential,’ That’s how Tu Tangata started. Out of Tu Tangata came kokiri centres, maatua whangai, kohanga reo, Maori kuapapa that actually turned around – look at our people today,” she says.
The nehu for Ihakara Puketapu is this morning at Waiwhetu Marae in Lower Hutt, after which he will be buried on his family homestead in Wainuiomata.