HAERE E KUI, HAERE KI NGA TUPUNA!
Te Atairangikahu Mahuta, wife of King Koroki, died on 25 April after a brief illness. She was 55.
Te Ata, as she was known to her Waikato people, was born of the aristocratic Herangi family, being the daughter of the late Wanakore Herangi of Ngati Ngawaero and Ngati Hikairo sub-tribes of Ngati Maniapoto of the Otorohanga district.
She was born at Otorohanga and brought up at Waahi Pa, Huntly by her grand-aunt Te Maru, wife of King Mahuta.
Married in 1926, she devoted her married life to supporting her husband in his role of traditional leader, particularly in recent years when he has been in poor health.
On the death of Princess Te Puea she slipped quietly into many of her duties involving large gatherings which take place during the year at Turangawaewae Pa, Ngaruawahia.
Some years ago she began a youth movement in the Waikato for the teaching of traditional arts of song and dance, taking a close personal interest in its activities. In recent years she has keenly supported moves by Maori people to seek greater education, especially in the last year when her adopted son, Mr Robert Mahuta, of Auckland, gained his School Certificate 10 years after leaving school.
In addition to Mr Mahuta, she and King Koroki had four adopted daughters. They are Mrs Piki Paki of Huntly, often given the courtesy title of Princess Piki; Mrs Deidre Muru of Ngaruawahia; Mrs Maea Walker of Maungaturoto; and Miss Mahinarangi Mahuta of Ngaruawahia.
News of the death brought deep personal sorrow to the people of Waikato who quickly converged on Turangawaewae in the afternoon and evening to pay their respects.
Six thousand people, including parties from all the main tribal groups, visited Turanga-waewae in the three days before the funeral.
Te Ata was buried on the summit of Taupiri Mountain, overlooking the Waikato River. Fifteen hundred mourners followed the cortege to the top of the mountain.