Maori from around New Zealand who've been attending an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing in Wellington are mourning a kuia who helped establish Kohanga Reo for pre-schoolers in Eastern Bay of Plenty.
Mere Moses, believed to be 80 years old, had made the trip to Wellington to be part of the Kohanga Reo hearing, but collapsed outside the tribunal office Monday and later died.
The Waitangi Tribunal is hearing submissions this week by key Maori representatives, some of whom accuse the Crown of mainstreaming Kohanga Reo, and want them managed independently of the Ministry of Education.
Many Maori say Mere Moses died literally fighting for the future of Kohanga Reo.
Phil Marshall, who is of Ngai Tuhoe descent, says she had been unwell but was determined to be at the hearings.
He says her passing has made iwi more determined to protect the future of Kohanga Reo.
Mere Moses died Monday night in Wellington Hospital and is expected to be farewelled on Thursday.