Tribute to Sir Eruera Tirikatene
Before commencing its work on 24 January last, the Maori Land Court of the South Island District paid tribute to the late Sir Eruera Tirikatene.
Judge M. C. Smith, followed by Mr J. E. Miller, spoke on behalf of those present:
‘E te iwi, tena koutou katoa!
E mau mai ana ahau i nga mihi aroha
a nga Tiati o te Kooti Whenua Maori
a Judge Jeune te Tiati Tumuaki
a nga Tiati katoa
Ki a Lady Tirikatene
Ki nga whanaunga
Ki te iwi o Ngaitahu, ki nga iwi katoa o Te Waipounamu
i te matenga o Sir Eruera Tirikatene.
Nga mihi aroha ki a koutou i roto i tenei wa pouri.
‘Sir Eruera was an outstanding Maori leader who served his race and his country with distinction over a lengthy period. He was a tireless worker towards the economic, social and spiritual advancement of the Maori people. In his personality were combined the most endearing qualities of a Maori of the old school—dignity, a warm heart and an irrepressible sense of humour.
I met him first some years ago when he was visiting relatives in Waitara and was delighted when he graciously called to have a chat with me in my chambers at a sitting of the Court here last year. I think he then knew well that his days were numbered. He refused to cease working, however, and preferred to die in harness—an act in itself characteristic of his life of service.
On behalf of Chief Judge Jeune, the other Judges of this Court and myself, I extend to Lady Tirikatene and family and to the Maori people generally our sincere sympathy in this time of sorrow.’