'Nanny' Hui Kahu dies

The most memorable voice of New Zealand hit song Poi-E has lost her battle with cancer.

"Nanny" Hui Kahu, 73, died this morning at her home in Hawera.

Known best for her work as the vocalist and poi soloist for the Patea Maori Club, those close to her say her death has left a cloud over Taranaki.

Family friend Steve Rangihuna told 3 News she was humble person "who put everyone else first - she was generous and giving".

She was a respected elder who was a great role model to all Maori and her death is a great loss to the country, he said.

"She was a great performer and my kids really moulded themselves off her and not only how to perform onstage but off the stage too.

"It is a feeling of absolute loss and I'm shattered. You cannot explain what I am feeling - it is like heartbreak. It is a great loss not only to myself and the family but to the whole of New Zealand."

Kahu was a teacher at Hawera's Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ngati Ruanui, and was married to Syd Kahu.
Those who knew her were believed to be gathering at Wai-o turi Marae today to celebrate her life.