Mandela tributes flow at Te Papa

16:00, Dec 08 2013
Nelson Mandela
AN ICON: A young boy walks past a poster of the late former South African president Nelson Mandela in Soweto.

Kiwis are paying their respects to Nelson Mandela ahead of his funeral this week.

Two areas have been set aside at Te Papa in Wellington so visitors can leave a message of remembrance to the late South African president in memorial books. The spaces are in the Wellington Foyer on level two, and in Te Marae on level four.

A Te Papa spokeswoman said hundreds of people signed the two books at the weekend.

Prime Minister John Key leaves today with a small group of New Zealanders to attend the official memorial service in South Africa.

"Nelson Mandela was a global icon for freedom who united South Africans following apartheid," Mr Key said.

"Madiba's achievements demonstrate what can be attained through forgiveness and reconciliation. His vision for South Africa was one of freedom and equality. It remains an inspiration to the world."


The delegation includes Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples, Opposition leader David Cunliffe, former prime minister Jim Bolger, and former foreign minister and secretary general of the Commonwealth, Sir Don McKinnon.

"This distinguished delegation reflects the mana of Mr Mandela, and the highest regard in which New Zealand held him," Mr Key said.

"New Zealanders felt an emotional connection with Nelson Mandela and our sympathies are with the people of South Africa at this difficult time."

A public memorial service for Nelson Mandela will be held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Auckland.

Details will be released this week.

The Dominion Post