29 Aug 2011

Oldest Maori radio station manager dies

7:19 pm on 29 August 2011

An eastern Bay of Plenty kaumatua and the country's oldest Maori radio station manager has died at the age of 82.

Wiremu Bully Pryor passed away last Friday, as a result of diabetes.

Mr Pryor, of Ngati Awa, Ngati Rangitihi and Ngai Tuhoe, had run Whakatane-based iwi station Te Manuka Tutahi since 1999. He was also the chair of the station's board of trustees.

The chair of Maori radio federation Te Whakaruruhau o nga Reo Irirangi o Aotearoa, Willie Jackson, says Mr Pryor made a huge contribution to Maori radio.

He said Mr Pryor would have been the oldest active iwi station manager at 82.

Mr Pryor's family say he was a driving force for Ngati Awa, instigating a treaty claim for the return of taonga such as Mt Putauaki, and the Mataatua meeting house that will be opened on 17 September.

His son, Hohepa Edwin Pryor, says his passing is a huge loss for the family and the iwi.

A tangi for Mr Pryor was held at Tuteao Marae in Te Teko near Whakatane and his funeral service took place on Monday morning.

He has been buried at Omatereiua cemetery.