The Archbishop of York has paid tribute to Sir Paul Reeves, saying he found a kindred spirit in the former Governor-General, who stood for truth and what was fair.
The Archbishop flew to New Zealand especially to attend Sir Paul's state funeral this Thursday, and was welcomed into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in central Auckland this morning.
John Sentamu, the former Ugandan churchman who was once a prisoner of dictator Idi Amin, visited Taranaki last year with Sir Paul for the consecration of St Mary's Cathedral.
He said the two had struck up a very good friendship and he respected the work Sir Paul had carried out particularly at the United Nations.
The Archbishop presented Sir Paul's widow, Lady Beverley, with the Compass and Rose Anglican flag and a ceremonial silver plate.
The flag, he said, was of great significance.
"This flag is flying for you.
"It is given to the family and if they want to fly it tomorrow they can, it is only given when the Anglican community gathers."
He said he remembered Sir Paul as someone who could be very direct but was never angry with anyone.
"He was a real gentleman, a great sense of humour and could tease you to no end."
He said that everyone at the tangi was wanting to claim Sir Paul as their own.
"I said what about me? I want to claim him too and take him away."
He said Sir Paul was a "bridge builder" who had reached out across communities, races and religions.
"He stood for truth and what was fair."
The public tangi for Sir Paul Reeves began on Monday and the church has seen a steady stream of mourners, including from the Anglican Church and Maoridom arrive to pay their respects.
Among mourners today were members from Ngai Tahu, including Mark Solomon, and judges from the Maori Land Court.
- © Fairfax NZ News
How does your household celebrate Easter?