Iwinfografix 1: Parekura – The Chief of Ikaroa Rawhiti

Ko te rangatira o Ikaroa Rawhiti - ko Para!

Ko te rangatira o Ikaroa Rawhiti – ko Para!

Parekura Tureia Horomia (9 November 1950 – 29 April 2013) was my relation. Dad used to talk about his cousin fondly.

I never worked with him when I was at TPK, but I attended many hui Parekura did and realised pretty early on that he had the people’s touch. He was a connector. He could connect with anyone and he did. But in particular, he would go out of his way to connect with the young, with rural people and with those struggling to make ends meet.

His nephew, young Willie Kaa related how he was meant to go watch Ngati Porou East Coast play Manawatu with his Uncle. Parekura picked him up in the Ministerial car. They drove to Palmerston North from Wellington. But a trip that normally takes an hour and a half trip took three hours. Parekura insisted that they stop at every vege shop along the way to speak to the owners. He also stopped to say hello and shake hands with every road worker they passed on the way up. They missed the game. But that was Uncle Para – always a kind word and a friendly hand shake for the ordinary man and woman. There were no flash airs or graces about him and he spoke his own form of eloquent English and Maori. He visited all the marae and was as well known in the kauta or out the back in the cookhouse as he was out front on the paepae or the orator’s bench. He said to Shane Jones, that the people wont remember what you said or looked like, but they will remember how you made them feel. Uncle Para made people feel like they mattered.

Moe mai Chief.

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