Nyman worked hard for Maori

17:00, Jul 11 2012

A third key figure in the Patea Maori Club has died.

John Nyman, best known for his work as a driving force behind the club, died on Tuesday, aged 58.

Fellow club members Maggie Tiahuia Kahu, best known for her work as the vocalist and poi soloist on the hit song Poi-E, and Sylvia Turama Kershaw died in May.

Raised in Whanganui, Mr Nyman moved to Patea in the 1980s after a 10-year career in the navy.

When the Patea Freezing Works closed he, along with many others, found himself out of work and looking for direction.

He became a member of the Patea Maori Club and when Poi E hit the airwaves he found his place in the world.

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Mr Nyman eventually became chairman of the club, as well as taking up various leadership roles on the Aotea Maori Performing Arts committee.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia paid tribute to her friend.

"We will miss him greatly," she said.

"John gave so willingly of his knowledge to forums such as the Waitangi Tribunal, as he gave insights into the traditional history of Ngati Ruanui, and provided leadership in his trusteeship of Okahu Inuawai for Nga Hapu o Ngaruahine Inc.

"His support for initiatives such as Ko te reo te mauri and Taranaki Tu Mai Festival has helped to keep our language and culture at the forefront of our identity."

Sister, Ngaraina Brooks, said he was her sounding board.

"As the eldest son he took over the responsibilities when our father passed on in representing our family at various functions," she said.

"As a man, very approachable, very knowledgeable.

"A very loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, friend, work colleague."

Mr Nyman is survived by his wife, three daughters and adopted son, and many mokopuna (grandchildren).

He will be lying at Aotearoa Marae until his funeral service on Saturday.

Taranaki Daily News