Ngāti Porou teacher and mentor Amster Reedy is being remembered as a man who instilled a sense of pride and inspiration about being Māori in an urban environment.
Mr Reedy died on Wednesday night at Gisborne Hospital following a stroke. He was 70.
Maru Karatea-Goddard was tutored by him and Keri Kaa at Wellington Teachers College in the 1980s. Although brought up in Horowhenua with her Ngāti Raukawa whānau, Ms Karatea-Goddard said Mr Reedy made her proud of her Ngāti Porou side while she was living in the capital.
"For me as a 'Ngāti' mokopuna who wasn't raised amongst my Ngāti Porou relatives, Amster Reedy and Keri Kaa were my first real taste of what it meant to be a 'harty Ngāti' ... So that woke me up, especially because I wasn't raised in my tribal rohe ... and to meet a person like Amster in the city was very exciting for me."
Her husband Danny Karatea-Goddard was also at the teaching college about 30 years ago said he remembers Amster Reedy as a role model who changed his life.
"Going back to the 1980s where he tutored us, as a young Māori man we were looking for role models. In terms of Amster, really... he built for us a window to the Māori world - he matapihi ki te ao Māori - especially those of is who were brought up in the city.
"He provided a 'tirohanga' - a perspective and a vision for who we could be, and Amster is just one of those guys that stepped into our lives and really liberated us."
A Ngāti Porou kuia (elderly woman), Keri Kaa, said Mr Reedy was the first person to introduce the martial art of taekwondo to the rohe. They worked together at the teachers college in the 1980s.
Keri Kaa says besides his knowledge of Te Ao Māori, he also had very practical skills which he shared with rangatahi.
"Well, he was a man before his time, he was way ahead and sometimes misunderstood by people, a lot of people don't realise how much he achieved," she said.
"He had this incredible intellect and that he brought taekwondo into Ngāti Porou, because at teacher's college in Karori in Wellington he used to have taekwondo classes ... he encouraged their development because he thought that a lot of our kids needed to be cheered along in terms of athletic development."
Amster Reedy's body is lying at Hiruhārama Marae, near Ruatoria on the East Coast, which has been busy receiving mourners. He will be buried tomorrow morning.