3 May 2013

Family stories told at tangi for MP

6:40 am on 3 May 2013

Family members say former Maori Affairs Minister, Parekura Horomia, never forgot his family, in spite of his busy political role.

The Prime Minister will lead National Party MPs on to Hauiti Marae, north of Gisborne, on Friday morning for the third day of Mr Horomia's tangi.

About 2000 people have so far attended the tangi at Hauiti Marae, north of Gisborne.

Mr Horomia's niece, Huia Allan, describes him as the totara tree of the family.

She says even though he was needed by people all across the motu or country, she says he always made the effort to return home.

Ms Allan says Mr Horomia was always available to support his iwi.

Meanwhile, the people of Taranaki are also paying tribute to Mr Horomia, saying he made time for important events like tangihanga to uphold tikanga Maori, not to push any political agenda.

Hinerangi Edwards, of Taranaki iwi, said Mr Horomia turned up at her mother's funeral unannounced.

Ms Edwards said he took time out of his busy schedule while he was in the area to pay his respects to her mother's work as a nurse.

She said Mr Horomia wasn't popular with many Maori at the time, because he supported the Labour Government's Foreshore and Seabed Act of 2004.

Ms Edwards said even people at the marae were questioning why he was there.

She said for Parekura Horomia to make the effort to attend the tangi, especially outside of his own rohe, was pretty special.

Ms Edwards said he had no airs or graces about him, he just followed his heart.

She said she was impressed he knew about her mother's work, and that he knew who he was talking to.

Ms Edwards said it was a selfless act because he had no votes to gain and probably put himself at a disadvantage by rescheduling the hui he was meant to attend that day.

She said Mr Horomia was there because be understood and 'lived' his tikanga.

A funeral service will be held for Mr Horomia on Saturday morning, before his burial.