Rev Hone Kaa’s passing a ‘loss to the nation’
Reverend Hone Kaa has been described today as a respected kaumatua who fought to better the status and wellbeing of children in New Zealand.
Kaa, of Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu, passed away at Auckland Hospital last night surrounded by whanau, after a short battle with cancer.
Archdeacon Kaa oversaw the two Auckland pastorates, was a senior Anglican priest, and a senior lecturer at Te Rau Kahikatea Theological College in St Johns, Auckland.
He was instrumental in supporting initiatives to advance Maori education and the protection of children and their families.
Kaa had served on the steering group of child Every Child Counts since 2008.
Every Child Counts chair Liz Gibbs said Reverend Kaa’s passing is a loss to the nation, particularly to the movement to improve the wellbeing of Maori whanau and reduce Maori child abuse.
“Hone was always a strong and articulate voice for children. He provided significant leadership to the effort to reduce Maori child abuse,” Gibbs said.
“He had a wonderful sense of humour and the ability to communicate with a wide cross-section of New Zealanders, as a Church and community leader, and as a respected kaumatua.”
Kaa was also a senior lecturer at Te Rau Kahikatea Theological College in St Johns, Auckland.
The Maori Party described Kaa as a “living legend of our times'”.
“Aotearoa has lost a fierce advocate, a champion for our children, and a veteran activist for the wellbeing of our whanau,” said Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party.
Turia said Kaa was closely associated with initiatives seeking to protect Maori children and families.
“We remember his significant contribution as chairperson of Te Whare Ruruhau o Meri; his leadership of Every Child Counts, and as Chair of Te Kahui Mana Ririki, an organisation to promote the wellbeing of Maori children”.
Dr Pita Sharples, co-leader of the Maori Party, said Kaa was “a man of the cloth” who was a mentor to many.
“Hone always encouraged us to live up to the legacy left by those before us,” Sharples said.
“He championed protest, and his church gave shelter to those seeking justice.”
Profound contribution – whanau
Kaa’s whanua said he spent 50 years in an extensive career that included parish ministry, broadcasting, local and international activism, teaching and child advocacy.
“His commitment to the Church, Maori development, tino rangatiratanga, international social justice issues and the discourse of the rights of Maori children has been profound,” they said.
They also said Kaa pursued a lifelong commitment to indigenous theological, intellectual and academic excellence.
“In spite of his deteriorating health, during his last public appearance he attended the High Court trial in support of the ‘Urewera Four’, a display of his on-going commitment to social justice issues.”
East Cape burial
Kaa’s body will be taken to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Auckland this afternoon, where he will remain until Sunday morning.
A requiem mass will be held at the Holy Sepulchre at 5pm, Saturday evening, March 31.
On Sunday morning his body will be taken to Hinepare Marae, Rangitukia, East Cape.
Kaa will be buried at Okaroro urupa Tuesday morning.