Former Appeal Court judge Sir David Baragwanath has paid tribute to Emily, Lady Latimer, whose funeral was held today in the Far North at Te Paatu Marae near Kaitaia..
Lady Latimer died on Monday at the age of 86. She was the wife of the Sir Graham Latimer and the first woman to sit on the Maori Council.
She worked for the Te Taitokerau Maori Trust Board and was secretary of the New Zealand Maori Council while Sir Graham was chairman; she also had a long involvement with the Maori Wardens.
Sir David Baragwanath said Lady Latimer had been a source of strength to a great man, carrying the burden of his people, and her wisdom and decency had influenced for good, the history of her country.
He said the privilege of representing Sir Graham and the Maori Council in the groundbreaking Treaty cases of the 80s was the high point of his 30 years as a barrister, while the subsequent radical change in attitudes to the Treaty had seen a flowering of Maoridom and what it meant to be a New Zealander.
Maori Affairs spokesperson for New Zealand First Pita Paraone said Lady Latimer helped her husband keep Maori issues to the fore in Aotearoa, leading to the status that the Treaty of Waitangi now holds in legislation.