by SUE SECONI
WANGANUI — St Mary’s Parish and Wanganui City lost two prominent Maori Catholic leaders in the deaths of Ariki Hanare Mare Mare Uncle Bill Murray and Morvin Te Anatipa Simon.
The loss of their mana, leadership and huge contributions to all people and organisations will be sorely missed.
Te Anatipa Simon, expert and tutor in Maori language, gifted
composer, kapa haka leader and Maori adviser, died in Wellington Hospital on Wednesday May 14, with his wife and family singing his favourite songs. He was aged 70.
Before returning to his birthplace marae at Kaiwhaiki, 20km upriver from Wanganui, he lay in state at his old school, Hato Paora College in Feilding, where he had maintained a long association.
“Like te awa tupua, his waiata could move from tempestuous rapids to
smooth waters that caress your every trouble away. E Riporipo ana nga wai — the one comfort we can turn to is to know the river flows on, and the melodies will be taken up by all our mokopuna to lift our hearts at this time of sorrow,” Tariana Turia, the co-leader
of the Maori Party, told the Wanganui Chronicle.
Mr Simon composed more than 100 songs, mainly waiata and haka, his first as a 14-year-old at Hato Paora. He gained international and national attention for his abilities in composition for choirs
and was a conductor for the National Maori Choir.
The father of 11 and grandfather of almost 50 wrote three books. Two
were about neighbouring marae and the third, about his marae, was published in 2012. He described that book as a warm collection of history and memories of growing up at Kaiwhaiki Marae.
In November 2012, Mr Simon was awarded an honorary bachelor’s degree
in Maori performing arts from . In 2013 he was appointed a Member of the NewZealand Order of Merit for services to Maori and his wife, Kua, the Queen’s Service Medal.