Poroporoaki Whaea Kathleen Hemi

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(Source | Waatea News) Ngati Apa and other Te tau Ihu iwi are mourning for Kathleen Hemi, who led treaty claims in the top of the South island.

Mrs Hemi died at her Blenheim home early this morning aged 85 after a long illness.

The mother of 10 was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in 1986 for her contribution to the community, which included chairing Omaka Marae, setting up a Maori Women’s Welfare League branch in the area, and being a long serving member of Ngati Apa Trust.

Rahui Katene, the MP for Te Tai Tonga, says Mrs Hemi was the last one of the group that launched the Ngati Apa claim 17 years ago, and also led the foreshore and seabed court case. Aunty Kath is lying in state at Omaka Marae in Blenheim.

Aunty Kath loved her people so much that not even a hospital bed would keep her from being part of the her iwis Treaty settlement earlier this month… She was the force behind getting a marae for the people of Omaka and making sure that Ngati Apa in Marlborough and Te Tai Poutini came together. She was also a driving force behind the Ngati Apa claim and the settlement and I will always remember the strong support she gave my late father over the Wai 262 claim,” said MP Rahui Katene.

Aunty Kath was raised the Maori way, the Ngati Apa way where whanau supported and looked after each other so having witnessed the breakdown of so many whanau values she felt compelled to make a difference.

Note: Wai 262 is a claim asserting exclusive and comprehensive rights to flora and fauna, cultural knowledge and property as taonga protected by Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi.

Click here to read more about Ngati Apa’s settlement

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