Death of Ranginui Walker

Dr Ranginui Walker died on Monday, aged 83. He is mourned by hundreds of Maori and Pakeha. His body was taken to the Orakei Marae on Wednesday for a tangi and for the funeral service yesterday. Hundreds of people came to pay their respects. There were so many, that 25 cooks were needed to prepare meals for the visitors. Tomorrow is the church service at the same marae.

Dr Walker was an academic who lectured on history and Maori culture at the University of Auckland. He always said that the history of NZ was only half told – the Pakeha half. He wanted people to know the other half – about the effects of colonization on Maori. His concerns included racial discrimination in the work place, and the importance of keeping the Maori language. He supported the kohanga reo movement of Maori language pre-school education. He joined the Waitangi Tribunal in 2003. The Tribunal is a court which looks at how land was taken from Maori in the past. He wrote many articles and was often on television or radio giving a Maori point of view.


• mourn (v) – feeling very sad about someone’s death
• Pakeha – Maori meaning “stranger”, Europeans
• marae – Maori meeting house
• tangi – Maori 3-day ceremony after someone dies
• to pay their respects – an idiom which means to show he was someone they admired
• an academic (n) – a lecturer at a university
• colonization (n) – NZ was colonized by Britain in 1840, NZ became a British colony
• kohanga reo – Maori “language nest”

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