WAATEA NEWS - There’s tears and tributes today for former Radio Waatea talk host Vapnierka (Vapi) Kupenga, who died yesterday.

vapi kupengaA teacher, actor, translator, social worker, university lecturer and serial political candidate, Auntie Vapi was prepared to tackle a wide range of guests and issues on her Te Puna Korero show.

Hailing from Hiruharama Marae on the East Coast, the native speaker was fiercely loyal to her tribe, and until recently chaired Ngati Porou ki Tamaki Taura Here.

She also maintained an interest in the arts, playing a cameo role as a kuia in the 2001 film The Quiet Earth.

Fellow broadcaster Aroha Hathaway described her as vivacious, ambitious, prophetic and inspiring.

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  • Tamati Taihuka

    takoto mai e hika e ki te moe mutunga kore
    whakataa e hika e ro’ i to waka wairua
    nga wai o Waiapu e haruru mai nei na
    e rite ki te hotu o taku manawa e hika
    rimurimu teretere i tere ra i te moana
    i rere ra te ripo i waho ra rerenga wairua
    taukuri e

  • Joss Shawyer

    What an inspiring teacher Vapi has been to us all, and such a wonderful friend throughout the years. A great loss to the nation but the special memories from knowing her live on in our hearts.