Sir Kim Workman’s life was honored at Papawai pa on Friday. PHOTO/ELI HILL


Cars lined the sides of Pa Rd on Friday as iwi welcomed more than 100 people on to the Papawai Marae in Greytown to recognise Sir Kim Workman’s knighthood, and to discuss themes of “nationhood and identity”.

Attendees were treated to anecdotes from Sir Kim’s life including his father’s rediscovery of his Maori identity and whakapapa.

He also spoke of growing up at Papawai Marae, the developments he’d seen at the marae over his lifetime, and the legacy of its leaders.

“I stand here to say thank you, to thank this house, this marae, those kaumatua and kuia whose breath I have inhaled through the decades.

“I’m thankful that in the process of forging a strategic vision to reform justice in the prison system, I was able to draw on the qualities of the tipuna who inhabited not only my lived experiences but my spiritual world.”

Sir Kim wrapped up his, at times emotional, korero by talking about succession and the formation of Just Speak which would ensure justice reform would continue even as his own voice faded.

Also speaking was Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy who referenced Papawai’s history and the roles it had played in New Zealand’s collective history.

Other speakers included former National Party MP Chris Finlayson, Action Station director Laura O’Connell Rapira, and chairman of Ngati Kahungunu Inc Ngahiwi Tomoana.