16 Nov 2020

Ngāpuhi leader Rudy Taylor dies

3:20 pm on 16 November 2020

Ngāpuhi leader, staunch hapū advocate and Labour Party Māori Council chair Rudolph Taylor has died aged 66.

Rudy and Kay Taylor at Tuhirangi Marae.

Rudolph Taylor. Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

More commonly known as Rudy, he became a life member of the Labour Party just weeks ago.

He spent years trying to get a settlement across the line for the far North iwi Ngāpuhi, helping to form the hapū alliance group Te Kotahitanga o Nga Hapū Ngāpuhi.

Te Kotahitanga challenged the former Ngāpuhi mandate group, Tūhoronuku, and believed hapū needed greater rangatiratanga over the settlement.

His whanaunga, former New Zealand First MP Jenny Marcroft, said he continued to advocate for progress on the settlement right up until his death.

"The loss is really for Ngāpuhi, and the tragedy is that he will not be able to see the settlement," she said.

"I know that Rudy was really hopeful with Andrew Little as the minister, that we would be able to make good progress, and there was progress being made, but not enough for Rudy to be able to see it.

"What I saw was this driving passion to ensure that all of the hapū of Ngāpuhi were represented in that Treaty Settlement and in that mandate, and they didn't see that, so they worked for years around the north, bringing people together to have their voices heard," she said.

Taylor's father was a strong advocate for the Labour Party and is where his ties to the party began.

Te Tai Tokerau MP and Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis will make his way to the north tonight to remember the man he credits for his political success.

"He was one of my staunchest supporters and I wouldn't be here today without the support of Rudy and his wife," he said.

"He was a big man with a big heart.

"He threw himself into anything he did with full commitment, be that rugby league, be that Ngāpuhi, be that supporting the Labour Party. He was recognised as a life member by the prime minister about a month ago.

"He will be sorely missed right throughout Hokianga, throughout the Labour Party, and throughout the League fraternity."

Rudy will be taken to Auckland today, before making his way back home to his home in Hokianga.

He is survived by his wife Keti, his two children and mokopuna.