14 Nov 2012

Two Bay of Plenty Maori leaders farewelled

11:09 pm on 14 November 2012

Two Bay of Plenty Maori leaders were laid to rest on Wednesday following three days of mourning.

The death of 28th Maori Battalion veteran Kepa Kepa of Ngai Tuhoe, who was 93, leaves only 25 survivors of the military unit.

He was buried on Wednesday morning in Te Teko in eastern Bay of Plenty.

The Maori Battalion National Association says the death of veteran Kepa Kepa marks an end of an era.

He served in the 28th Maori Battalion in North Africa and Italy during World War II.

A Maori Battalion spokesman Matt Te Pou says Mr Kepa was one of the two last survivors from his rohe.

And Te Arawa kaumatua, Rawiri Te Whare, who negotiated the iwi's $85 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement, was also farewelled and buried in Rotorua after suffering from diabetes.