Farewell for Ralph Hotere

Last updated 14:11 28/02/2013
Fairfax NZ
GOODBYE: Mourners at today's service for artist Ralph Hotere, ONZ.

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Mourners at the Dunedin funeral for celebrated artist Ralph Hotere have heard of his diversity, depth, humility  and personal integrity.

Minister of  Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson told those at St Joseph's Cathedral this morning that Hotere was a great New Zealander and one of the city’s favourite adopted sons.

He died on Sunday, aged 81.

The artist, whose real name was Hone Papita Raukura, reflected his views on social and political issues, threats to the environment, apartheid and racism, in his works, Finlayson said.

Author Bill Manhire recited the words of a haunting poem: "The light is on at Carey's Bay."

Judith Ablett-Kerr, QC, described her long friendship with Hotere, which began when he was fighting to prevent the loss, through port development, of his land at Observation Pt in Port Chalmers. It was home to some of his treasured sculptures.

The friendship developed to a deep affection and she used to call Hotere "the man". Even a massive stroke 12 years ago could not keep him down, she said.

Once he was bestowed with the Order of New Zealand in 2011, she began referring to him as "the great man" which always raised a chuckle from him, she said.

Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples said Hotere was a philosopher, a man who could make people laugh and a man who could also challenge people and make them think. He was an advocate of the rights of Maori in the '60s and '70s. He was also very proud to be a New Zealander.

"A Maori, yes, but also a New Zealander. He was proud of our country."

Sharples said Hotere was always his own man. A man who took his art and put his stamp on the world. Hotere wasn't concerned if someone did not understand his work, he would tell them to go to the movies or something, Sharples said.

In his tribute to Hotere author Bill Manhire recited a haunting poem written by Hotere, "the light is on at Carey's Bay".

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- The Southland Times

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