30 Mar 2012

Campaigner against Maori child abuse dies

7:47 pm on 30 March 2012

The Archdeacon of Tamaki Makaurau, the Venerable Dr Hone Kaa, who was known for his efforts to stop Maori child abuse, has died in Auckland.

Dr Kaa was of Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu descent and grew up on the East Coast in the town of Rangitukia near Gisborne.

He was an advocate for Maori rights in the 1970s and later worked as a radio and television broadcaster.

He also worked for the Anglican church overseas, supporting indigenous development.

Dr Kaa served both the Maori and Pakeha churches in Hawke's Bay which he says caused some controversy in both worlds.

In the 1970s he says he became a disciple of the Maori rights movement.

He says it was a time when Maori were realising how much of their land and culture had been lost.

More recently he started Ririki, a national body devoted to stopping the maltreatment of Maori children. He was also a spokesperson and chairman for the lobby group Every Child Counts.

Despite bad health in recent years, Dr Kaa remained a strong activist.

He died in hospital late on Thursday night after a short battle with cancer.

Dr Kaa's tangi began at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Auckland on Friday afternoon and his body will be taken to Gisborne on Sunday.

Tributes being paid

Chairman of Ngati Kahungunu Ngahiwi Tomoana says Dr Kaa was a firebrand in some instances and could calm a storm in others.

He says Dr Kaa was a cult figure, from high school through to his death and someone who was on the edge of change for Maori rangatiratanga or authority, and mana motuhake or activisim.

Mr Tomoana says Dr Kaa championed the cause of Maori through his work with the Anglican church, academia, Maori broadcasting, the community, and social justice.

And Liz Gibbs of Every Child Counts says the group will miss his presence.

She says she will always remember Dr Kaa's sense of humour and he also had a massive knowledge coupled with absolute iintegrity.

"He would very often capture their hearts and minds and move their position which, obviously, for an advocacy organisation is a very good thing."