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No. 56 (September 1966)
– 6 –

An Eulogy by TE PAKI O MATARIKI on the Passing of King Koroki

A Polynesian dynasty has ended with the passing of King Koroki. The late King was the last of a line of five kings; a line which commenced over one hundred years ago with the election of King Potatau.

King Koroki was a member of the Ngati Mahuta tribe of the mid-reaches of the Waikato River. In his veins flowed the blood of chieftain lines from all the important tribes throughout the Land.

The Tribes have paid tribute to the memory of the late King with all the wealth and imagery and colour the language of the Race possesses. The chiefs have addressed the departed Ariki as if he were still within hailing distance, and they have called on him to travel in spirit to the well-known landmarks throughout the Land.

King Koroki seldom spoke in public, and because of this his undoubted qualities of leadership, kindness and generous hospitality were known only to his people of the Waikato and to those who visited Ngaruawahia regularly for the annual gatherings on Turangawaewae marae.

In his passing the Tainui tribes have lost a well beloved man. He numbered among his lifelong friends Maori and Pakeha in all walks of life. He was the proud boast of the Tainui peoples… The Plume of the Tainui Canoe.

The Arawa tribes were proud to draw him within their warm embrace on account of the important fact that he was descended in an unbroken male line from Tamatekapua, the Commander of the Arawa Canoe of the Great Migration of 1350 A.D.

The King has gone to join his illustrious ancestors in Te Toi-o-nga-rangi (The Top-most Heaven). On his way he will bathe in the healing waters of Tane, ere entering Matangi-reia (The Temple of Fragrant Breezes).

Go onward, O Illustrious One, to the courtyard of Te Rauroha i te rangi (The Limitless Space in the Heavens). Rest you then with Io (The Supreme Being) and his companion gods, Rehua and Puhaorangi, in Whakamoeariki (The Sleeping-place of High Chiefs).

Farewell, Farewell, Haere ra!

This message, received with acclamation by the people at Turangawaewae, sums up the many expressions of sympathy sent to the bereaved.

E te whare mate, te iwi ka mahue matua-kore nei, tena koutou me to tatou aitua nui whakaharahara, te totara taikaka o te wao a Tane. Ta te tini murau, ta te mano wenerau, hoatu ki te wa kainga. Koroki, hoatu ki te putahitanga o Rehua, ki te huihuinga o Te Kahurangi, ma Taupiri koe e taki ki a Puhaorangi, hei waha i a koe ki te toi o nga rangi, ki a Io Matua. Nga wai tapu o te awa o Waikato, waipuke mai, whakaheke ra. Turangawaewae marakerake ana. E Piki, te whare taia o to matua, ona toto, ona parapara tapu, kei te tangi, kei te oha atu ki a koe, ki a koutou. Ma te Runga Rawa koutou e manaaki, e tiaki. Arohanui.

Na Te Kawana Tianara.

The bereaved family, the orphaned people of Waikato, greetings in the loss of the most priceless totara of the forest of Tane. The figurehead of the many, beloved of the multitudes, depart. Koroki, proceed to the assembly point of the guiding star Rehua, to the gathering place of the great. Let your mountain Taupiri direct you to Puhaorangi the heavenly ancestor of the tribes and let Puhaorangi escort you to the top-most heaven into the very presence of Io Matua the Almighty. Let the waters of Waikato overflow in anguish. Turangawaewae stands this day lonely and deserted. Princess Piki, the mainstay of your departed matua and the sacred issue of the royal line, we mourn with you and with your people in this great loss. May God in the Highest keep and protect you all. Arohanui.

The Governor-General.