September 22, 2023
Scholar and fighter for Mana Motuhake dies
One of Māoridom’s foremost linguists and advocates for mana motuhake, Sir Patrick Hohepa, has died at his Waima home aged of 87.
Sir Patu, from Te Mahurehure hapu of Ngapuhi, studied social anthropology at the University of Auckland and sociolinguistics for a PhD from Indiana University.
His Masters thesis was published as A Maori Community in Northland, and his doctoral work in the International Journal of American Linguistics as A Profile Generative Grammar of Maori.
He taught at the University of Hawaii, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvards, and was for many years a professor of Maori studies at the University of Auckland.
In 1973 he was recruited by then Maori affairs minister Matiu Rata as a senior advisor to assist in a programme of transformation that included reforming the Maori Affairs Act, laying the foundation for reform of Maori land law and creating the Waitangi Tribunal to review breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.
His later activities advocating for Maori rights put him on a list of “radical nationalist Maoris” named by former Police Red Squad leader Ross Meurant in his maiden speech to Parliament – which he saw as an honour.
He was Maori Language Commissioner from 1997 to 2007, and also served as a member of Te Waka Toi, the Māori Board of Creative New Zealand, and as a member of Haerewa, Auckland Art Gallery’s Māori cultural advisory group.
n the 2022 Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours, he was appointed a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2022 for services to Māori culture and education.
Patrick Wahanga Hohepa will be taken to Otātara Marae, Waimā, later today.