Patea Maori Club loses an influential leader

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 21/07/2012

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

Within months of his wife Maggie (nanny hui) dying, Ngaonepu (Syd) Kohuka Kahukuranui joined her on Wednesday, aged 78.

Nanny hui, best known for her work as the vocalist and poi soloist on the hit song Poi-E, and Sylvia Turama Kershaw died in May, and former Club chairman John Nyman died on July 10.

Mr Kahukuranui was born and raised on the Pariroa Marae, Patea. He gravitated to the freezing works, where he became a staunch voice for the people as a union representative.

Then, like so many others, he found his place within the club when the works shut.

Ultimately he became a teacher, spokesman and leader of Taranaki's greatest cultural export. He eventually sat on a number of influential cultural boards including the National Kapa Haka Committee and the Te Runanga o Ngati Ruanui Trust.

Son-in-law Phil King said South Taranaki, and the country, had lost a proud voice who would tell it as he saw it.

Mr King said "Syd" would be remembered as a man of great strength who influenced generations to stand up for what they believed in.

"He was a self-taught orator. He had no fear of speaking wherever, whenever, to whoever, and that's not an easy thing to do."

Mr Kahukuranui is survived by his 11 children, 28 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren

He will be lying at Pariroa Marae until his funeral service on Monday.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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