23 Mar 2010

Maori negotiator for Waikato River claim dies

7:30 pm on 23 March 2010

The Waikato-Tainui co-negotiator for the Waikato River claim has died after a long battle with a rare bone marrow disease. She was 67.

Raiha, Lady Mahuta, was of Ngati Manu descent from the Bay of Islands and the widow of Tainui leader Sir Robert Mahuta.

She had been battling cancer throughout the lengthy negotiations to settle the river claim. The settlement was reached in 2008.

Co-negotiator Tukoroirangi Morgan says Lady Mahuta fought to ensure that future generations would once again be proud of what is rightfully an integral part of tribal heritage.

Mr Morgan says she was guided by the vision and strategy that centred on the return of the mana of the river.

Lady Mahuta died on Tuesday morning at the home of her daughter Nanaia Mahuta, the MP for Waikato-Tainui.

Her casket will be at Turangawaewae marae for a short time, before travelling to Waahi Marae in Huntly where Lady Mahuta will lie until being taken to her home marae at Karetu, in the far north, for her funeral on Friday.

On the way to Waahi, the cortege will stop briefly at the Waikato Tainui-endowed college at Hopuhopu, and Taupiri Mountain.