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Kahungunu ki Wairarapa honour kaumātua’s service

A new annual education award has been created in the name of kaumātua and long-standing Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa trustee Nelson Francis Rangitakaiwaho.

The award was created by Kahungunu ki Wairarapa in honour of Rangitakaiwaho’s years of service, leadership, and unwavering dedication and commitment to the iwi and wider Wairarapa communities through business, district and regional council, and community initiatives.

Rangitakaiwaho [Rangi] said it took him a while to understand the gravity of the award under his name.

“Quite frankly, I was flabbergasted,” he said.

When Rangi began educational work, his role was to organise scholarships for Wairarapa Moana Corp, which eventually amounted to about $40,000 per year.

“Basically, what we need is a good education, where we can go out and the world is our oyster,” he said.

Rangi said one notable thing was his contribution to work that brought Wairarapa iwi together so that they could work complementarily rather than competitively.

“We have our little differences, but we work so well together.”

Rangi said he has devoted the past 20 years to promoting the confidence of iwi members in society.

In recent years, he said, Māori have been able to speak out and exercise a little bit more “whoosh”, thanks to better education.

“You see that in various ways now, the attitudes are different,” he said.

Kahungunu ki Wairarapa chairperson Kristina Perry said it was fitting for the iwi to celebrate and acknowledge their rangatira.

“He is a respected member of our community,” she said.

“He has provided leadership and advice at the council, police, Te Pae Oranga, health, Wairarapa Moana, iwi, hapū, marae, and whānau levels.”

Perry said that as a trustee for Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Rangi was instrumental in shaping its direction and that he has continued to be involved in many community initiatives over the years.

The Rangitakaiwaho will be awarded to a rangatahi [young person] who has demonstrated and reflected the leadership and service roles modelled by Rangi.

Kahungunu ki Wairarapa is still determining the award criteria with Rangi and whether the award recipient will receive a scholarship.

The inaugural award was presented at a celebration acknowledging Rangi’s 15 years of service to Kahungunu ki Wairarapa event, along with his other work, on April 17.

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