E te whäea, taua, kuia rangatira, moe mai ra, moe mai ra i to moenga roa.
Dr Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia have today expressed great sadness at the passing of the kuia, Maruhaeremuri Stirling (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāti Porou).
“Taua Maru – or Aunty Kui as she was known – blessed us all with her wisdom, her intelligence and her zest for life in so many different realms” said Dr Sharples. “Over the last two years I have made frequent visits to Christchurch and Aunty Kui would be at every hui, making her contribution felt – whether it was earthquake recovery; trade training or Runaka business. She will be greatly missed”.
“Over thirty years ago, she was a community officer with the Department of Māori Affairs, when she first took up the cause for the revitalisation of te reo Māori. As a native speaker, she took up the challenge of bolstering the state of te reo Māori in Canterbury, helping to set up kōhanga reo wherever there were people. No matter if it was a garage, someone’s lounge, or the first licensed kōhanga- Te Whatumanawa Māoritanga o Rehua – Taua Maru was there, inspiring everyone to kōrero.
“This remained a calling in her life and to this day, endures in the Ngai Tahu Māori language revitalisation strategy, Kotahi Mano Kaika, Kotahi Mano Wawata”.
“Aunty Kui was also a distinguished member of the Ngarimu VC and 28 (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarship Trust Board”.
“We will always remember with love the impact she made in the lives of so many whānau through her influence in Ōtautahi iwi social services” said Tariana Turia. “I especially loved the forthright manner in which she would speak. Whether it be about spirituality and healing; as a guest speaker on Wahine Toa or Mana Wahine; or celebrating Puaka Kai Rau – the Māori New Year – Taua Maru always brought a special dignity and presence to any event”.
“We are so lucky that her legacy has been recorded on Māori Television; the pages of Te Karaka; or in oral archives. Through these means her leadership as ‘resident kaumātua’ at Te Papa for the Mo Tātou exhibition; her stunning modelling of a korowai made of ostrich feathers; or her memoirs of her journey with Māori Battalion D Company veterans through Italy, Malta, Egypt, Turkey, and Tunisia will always be with us”.
“But it is in our hearts and our memories that this beautiful kuia will always live on. Her skills as kaikaranga; her sharp political insights; her courage and her commitment to Whānau Ora will be sadly missed. She lived by an absolute belief in Maatua Whangai and continued to advocate for kin-based care all her life. Aunty Kui never missed a beat – even taking to Facebook to mobilise all her mokopuna, to get them enrolled and out to vote!”
“Our aroha extends to all her whānau at Tuahiwi – and indeed across the motu – who will be devastated by the loss of such a treasured and unforgettable champion of whānau, hapū and iwi”.
Maruhaeremuri Stirling will be lying in state at Rehua Marae, Christchurch.