Titewhai Harawira cropped 1

The passing of Titewhai Harawira will be deeply felt at Waitangi, where her presence will be greatly missed.

Politician Hone Harawira (Titewhai’s son) made the announcement of Harawira’s passing on Wednesday morning. She was 90 years of age. According to Mori leaders, Titewhai Harawira‘s absence at Waitangi this year will be felt. She was tenacious in her pursuit of justice for the Mori.

Titewhai was a well-known figure at the Waitangi Day celebrations, frequently accompanying the prime minister to the neighborhood marae. She was the proud matriarch of a close-knit family and was actively involved in Mor activism. She had a steely will and strong convictions.

Additionally, she was characterized as a tough, determined campaigner with a few contentious stances and a critic of her people by Shane Jones, a former New Zealand First MP.

What Was The Cause Of Titewhai’s Death?

A longtime activist from New Zealand named Titewhai Harawira passed away on January 24, 2023, at the age of 90. She had been suffering from serious health issues. Harawira’s son predicted that she would spend the night lying in state at her Avondale home before traveling to Hoani Waititi Marae in Henderson. For a burial, she would travel back to the north.

Early Picture Of New Zealand Activist Titewhai Harawira
Early Picture Of New Zealand Activist Titewhai Harawira (Image Source: E-Tangata)

Marama Davidson, co-leader of the Green Party, paid tribute to Titewhai for her bold and determined activism, and her unwavering dedication to promoting the aspirations of the Mori people. He also announced that he would travel to Hoani Waititi Marae to make arrangements for her tangi.

Pita Tipene, the chairman of the Waitangi National Trust Board, expressed shock at Harawira’s passing. Moreover, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins expressed his condolences, stating that, while he did not know her well, he wanted to offer his condolences on her passing.

Introducing John Puriri Harawira: Husband Of Titewhai Harawira

After completing her nursing training, Titewhai Te Hoia married John Harawira in 1952 and made her home in Avondale, Auckland. They had nine biological kids and three adopted kids. The couple was active in the community and helped found the Hoani Waititi urban marae in West Auckland.

She also participated in the Mori Women’s Welfare League’s campaigns, particularly the one to enhance Maori housing. After John passed away in 1977, she was left to care for their large family on her own. She then joined the anti-government Ng Tamatoa group in the late 1970s and put up a valiant fight for the Mori language.

Where Was She Originally From?

The activist was raised by her family after being born in Whakapara, Northland, in 1932. She personally witnessed the alienation of Maori land while growing up during WWII, which planted the seeds for her commitment to land rights.

Titewhai Harawira.
Titewhai Harawira speaking with King Charles at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds during his visit to New Zealand in 2019. (Image Source: rnz.co.nz )

She stated that she had witnessed Mori Affairs seizing control of the farms that belonged to her aunts and cousins, and that this had been witnessed by residents of the surrounding districts. When those people returned from WWII, the farms were locked up and padlocked because they had been given to other people.

Titewhai became best known outside of her social circles in later years for her yearly protests at Waitangi. In 1998, she prevented Helen Clark, the leader of the Labour Party at the time, from speaking at the marae, making the ordinarily stoic Clark cry. According to reports, Mori women who were denied the right to speak are fighting for equal rights.

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