Kia Puāwai mourns the passing of kaumātua

Staff travelled to Waikato recently to attend the service and tangi for one of the organisation’s kaumātua, Ngarau Tupaea, who passed away. He was 91.

Ngarau, along with his wife, Puhanga, were kaumātua for Kia Puāwai from 2007-2015. Affectionately known as ‘Ma and Pa’ the couple were instrumental in embedding tikanga and kawa within the organisation.

A delegation from Kia Puāwai attended the tangi at Te Kumi Marae at Te Puaha o Waikato to bestow their respects to Whaea Puhanga and the whānau.

The Kia Puāwai Pasifika whānau presented a sacred ‘ie toga’ which is a finely woven mat and is a measina or taonga in Samoan culture. It is one of the highest-ranking items to be bestowed on someone and is one of the highest honours given during a tangihanga. The Kia Puāwai Kākahu Atawhai was draped over the casket as an acknowledgement to Ngarau.

CE Marion Heeney says Ngarau was a much-loved member of Kia Puāwai.  

“It would be difficult to give a full description of the contribution of Ngarau to our organisation,” says Marion. “It was immeasurable, and it is still seen and felt to this day. He was a taonga and will be forever remembered.”  

The legacy of Ngarau and Puhanga is embodied by some of the rooms in the Kia Puāwai main office at Vestey Drive in Auckland.

One room, which Ngarau and Puhanga used as a meeting space, is called Kia Ngāwari. The name means to be sincere, kind, simple, obedient, easy-going, flexible and of a loving nature. It is a soft space for hui and small gatherings with the name being chosen as it reflects the loving nature and wairua of Ngarau and Puhanga.

Other rooms at Vestey Drive also reflect their vision for Kia Puāwai. Mamaku and Te Piringa are two larger rooms that are adorned with traditional tukutuku that were created by Whaea Puhanga and completed by staff.

Ngarau and Puhanga will be remembered for their kindness,aroha, manaakitanga and their deep commitment to Kia Puāwai and its kaupapa.

Whai muri atu rā i ngō mātua, i ngō tūpuna. Moe mai i roto ingā ringaringa atawhai a te Atua.