17 Dec 2020

Rangimarie Rose Turuki Pere laid to rest: 'She dared to be different'

3:08 pm on 17 December 2020

A renowned Ngāti Kahungunu spiritual leader - remembered for the wisdom she imparted not only on her iwi but te ao Māori - will be laid to rest near Gisborne today.

Dr Rangimarie Turuki Arikirangi Rose Pere, of Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani and Ngāti Kahungunu, passed away aged 83.

Dr Rangimarie Turuki Arikirangi Rose Pere, of Tūhoe, Ngāti Ruapani and Ngāti Kahungunu, passed away aged 83. Photo: Supplied

Dr Rangimarie Rose Turuki Pere, who is also from Tūhoe and Ngāti Ruapani, will be buried next to her husband Joseph Pere at Te Rongopai Marae in Patutahi, following the final service for her which began at 11am.

Among those celebrating her life today is Ngāti Kahungunu chair Ngāhiwi Tomoana who said Whaea Rose would be remembered for her colourful clothing and language.

"She always talked about her spiritual dimension and also her human dimension and her human dimension could get quite straight to the point ... she'd curse and scold, not frightened to argue, all the time she'd say 'this is my human side, my divine side will catch up sooner or later'."

He said she was never afraid to challenge anyone on tikanga.

"She saw herself and she saw us as an iwi as protectors of the achilles heel of humanity through our tūpuna, Kahungunu and Ruapani, who she always expressed as the greatest of peacemakers and deal makers."

Tomoana said Whaea Rose transformed how Kahungunu saw themselves, in her role as one of the original taumata advisers to the Ngāti Kahungunu board.

"She changed paradigms because most people would say we come from Te Kore and Te Pō, and she would say, 'no, Takitimu come from Te Rā'… we are the tribe from the spark of the essential sun that gives light to the universe and she would never let that go."

This belief was often controversial, and Tomoana said that Whaea Rose was challenged on her views by her own peers.

However, Tomoana said she remained steadfast in her thinking that the iwi needed to hold to the uniqueness of their ancestor Kahungunu, who was a peacemaker.

She encouraged iwi leaders to make peace during the settlement process for Ngāti Kahungunu, which Tomoana said was "putting thick black lines between iwi and iwi, hapū and hapū, waka and waka."

She also provided spiritual wisdom for Ngāhiwi, calling him up no matter where he was in the country or around the world to let him know that his ancestors were supporting him, and if he didn't hear from her, he was told he was "going the wrong way"

He said the last few days have been a celebration of Whaea Rose's knowledge, and the wānanga she developed in the areas of health and the environment.

"There haven't been very many sad moments at all as people have come and paid tribute.

"She was colourful and she was different and she dared to be different and she dared everyone around her to be different.

"She wore colourful clothes, she talked colourful language - both wairua and tinana - and she was able to unite people around the world."