Titewhai Harawira’s absence at Waitangi will be felt following her death.
Hone Harawira, a politician, announced Harawira’s death on Wednesday morning. She was ninety years old.
Titewhai Harawira was tenacious in her pursuit of justice for Mori, and her absence at Waitangi will be felt this year, according to Mori leaders.
Titewhai was a familiar face at Waitangi Day celebrations, often accompanying prime ministers to the local marae. She was the proud matriarch of a close-knit family and was heavily involved in Mor activism, with strong convictions and a steely will.
Former New Zealand First MP Shane Jones described her as a fierce, determined campaigner with a few contentious stances and a critic of her people.
Titewhai Harawira Death: What Happened To The Activist?
Titewhai Harawira, a New Zealand-based long-time activist, died on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, at 90, after battling severe health complications.
Harawira’s son, former MP Hone Harawira, said she would lie in state at her Avondale home for a night before going to Hoani Waititi Marae in Henderson. She’d return to the north to be buried.
Marama Davidson, co-leader of the Green Party, praised Titewhai Harawira’s “feisty, staunch activism” and passionate commitment to advancing te ao Mori aspirations.
Iti stated that he would make his way to Hoani Waititi Marae to prepare for her tangi. Pita Tipene (Ngti Hine), the Waitangi National Trust Board chairperson, expressed surprise at Harawira’s death. Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said he didn’t know her well but wanted to mourn her death.
Meet Titewhai Harawira Husband John Puriri Harawira
Titewhai Te Hoia married her husband, John Harawira, in 1952 after training as a nurse and settled in Avondale, Auckland. They had nine children and three adopted children.
The couple was involved in local schools and were founding members of West Auckland’s pioneering Hoani Waititi urban marae. Titewhai Harawira was also involved with the Mori Women’s Welfare League, particularly in its Campaign to improve Maori housing.
John Harawira died in 1977, leaving her to raise their extended family independently.
In the early 1970s, she joined the protest group Ng Tamatoa and fought hard for the Mori language, often against harsh criticism.
Titewhai Harawira Family: Where Was She From?
Titewhai Te Hoia Hinewhare was born in 1932 in Whakapara, Northland, and was raised by her family.
Growing up during WWII, she witnessed the alienation of Maori land herself, and the seeds of her commitment to land rights were sown.
She had revealed that she saw farms belonging to her aunties and cousins being taken over by Mori Affairs, and people in and around their districts saw those farms being taken over. Those were given to other people, so when their people returned from WWII, those farms were padlocked and locked off those farms.
Outside of her circles, she was best known in later years for her annual protests at Waitangi. She stopped then-Labour Party Leader Helen Clark from speaking on the marae in 1998, bringing the normally stoic Clark to tears.
Harawira stated that she was fighting for equal rights for Mori women who were denied the right to speak.