His Tangi (funeral) took place over 3 days at the Papawai Marae, Greytown. Being the oldest male relative attending I was responsible for sitting next to Sam in an open casket and accepting the Koha. A huge privilege.
Sam wanted to be cremated.
Prince - Anglican Minister, and Kaumatua of Sam’s home marae of Ngati Porou near Ruatoria came to the Tangi. Prince had been responsible for body snatching several Ngati Porou deceased over the years from around NZ and returning the bodies to their home Marae for burial as is Maori Custom. Cremation was not Custom in Maoritanga (but becoming more common now).
Sam had been worried about this so we made a video before Sam died of his wishes and I met Prince upon his arrival explaining the situation and asking him to watch the video before he decided what to do.
The full Maori War Haka was performed for Sam ... right in front of me as I sat next to Sam in his open casket. The hairs on my body have never stood so straight!
An honour for Sam. It was also Sam's wish for his wife Dorothy to return his ashes to his home marae - TePoho Te Aowera - located 6km south west of Ruatoria. Prince watched the video, agreed and it was decided this would occur in January 2001 over the Wellington Anniversary weekend.
Sam’s widow Dorothy arranged for a bus to transport all of us. Sam’s ashes were placed in a small coffin and travelled with us.
We left Dorothy’s home in Greytown shortly after 8pm on Friday night.
We arrived at TePoho Te Aowera after 9am on Saturday morning.
We spent the night on the marae together.
We left TePoho Te Aowera at 9:15 Sunday morning, arriving back in Greytown 9pm Sunday night.
This photo essay is the story of that trip and the Tangi that took place with Ngati Porou. (I did not photograph the Papawai Tangi owing to my duties.)