Titewhai Harawira, a New Zealand activist, has died.
Following her passing, Titewhai Harawira’s absence at Waitangi will be felt. On Wednesday morning, Hone Harawira, a politician, announced Harawira’s death. She was 90 years old.
According to Mori leaders,
Titewhai Harawira was tenacious in her quest of justice for Mori, and her absence at Waitangi will be felt this year.
Titewhai was a regular at Waitangi Day celebrations, frequently accompanying prime ministers to the nearby marae.
With strong convictions and a steely resolve,
she was the proud grandmother of a close-knit family and was extensively involved in Mor activism.
Shane Jones, a former New Zealand First MP, described her as a tough,
dedicated fighter with a few controversial opinions and a critic of her people.
What Happened To Titewhai Harawira, The Activist?
Titewhai Harawira, a long-time campaigner in New Zealand, died on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, at the age of 90,
after suffering from significant health difficulties.
Hone Harawira, Harawira’s son, said his mother would lie in state at her Avondale
home for a night before moving to Hoani Waititi Marae in Henderson. She’d travel north to be buried.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson lauded Titewhai Harawira’s
“feisty, staunch activism” and “passionate commitment” to furthering te ao Mori ambitions.
Iti said he was going to Hoani Waititi Marae to prepare for her tangi. Pita Tipene (Ngti Hine), the chairperson of the
Waitangi National Trust Board expressed surprise at Harawira’s death.
Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said he didn’t know her well but wanted to express his condolences on her demise.
Titewhai Harawira has arrived. Husband Harawira, John Puriri
Te Hoia married John Harawira in 1952 after studying as a nurse,
and they lived in Avondale, Auckland. They had nine children, three of whom were adopted.
The couple was interested in local schools and were founder members of the pioneering Hoani Waititi urban marae in West Auckland.
Titewhai Harawira was also active in the Mori Women’s Welfare League, namely in its Campaign to Improve Maori Housing.
John Harawira died in 1977, leaving her to care for their large family on her own.
She joined the protest group Ng Tamatoa in the early 1970s
and campaigned hard for the Mori language, frequently under harsh criticism.
Where Did Titewhai Harawira Come From?
Titewhai Te Hoia Hinewhare was nurtured by her family after being born in Whakapara, Northland, in 1932.
She experienced the alienation of Maori land as a child during WWII,
and the seeds of her commitment to land rights were sown.
She had disclosed that Mori Affairs had taken over farmland belonging to her aunties and relatives
and that individuals in and around their areas had seen those properties being taken over.
Those were given to others, and when their people returned from WWII, those farms were padlocked and sealed off.
In later years, she was best recognized outside of her groups for her annual protests at Waitangi.
In 1998, she prevented then-Labour Party Leader Helen Clark from speaking on the marae, causing the ordinarily stoic Clark to cry.
According to Harawira, she is fighting for equal rights for Mori women who are denied the ability to speak.