9 Aug 2012

Raukawa kaumatua George Rangitutia has died

6:43 am on 9 August 2012

A well respected South Waikato kaumatua who recently signed his tribe's Treaty settlement in hospital, has died at the age of 68.

George Rangitutia was the former chairperson of the Raukawa Settlement Trust.

He died at his home in Tokoroa on Wednesday morning after a short illness.

Raukawa Settlement Trust chairperson Vanessa Eparaima says it's a sad day for the tribe losing an incredibly influential statesman - a leader committed to helping his people.

Mr Rangitutia played a vital part in the tribe's Treaty negotiations, and contributed towards the historic singing of a Deed of Settlement in June. At that time he was in Waikato hospital.

After the signing ceremony, Vanessa Eparaima, Minister of Treaty Negotiations Christopher Finlayson, and Taupo MP Louise Upston visited Mr Rangitutia so he could stamp his mark on the Treaty document.

Ms Eparaima thanks Mr Finlayson and Ms Upston for going to the hospital and making a dream come true.

She said that by Mr Rangitutia signing the deed - he accomplished his father's aspiration.

The body is lying in state at Aotearoa marae in Te Awamutu and will be buried on Saturday.