RIP Sir Graham Latimer

Stuff reported:

Prominent Maori leader and former National vice president Sir has died, aged 90, after suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Sir Graham Stanley Latimer’s leadership was key in progressing Maori rights and addressing historic grievances.

He was involved with the New Zealand Maori Council for nearly 40 years, much of his tenure was as president, and he was one of the first three members of the Waitangi Tribunal. …

Shane Jones, now Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development, described Latimer as a “mentor for our generation”.

“He was steadfast to a global Maori view about the trajectory that we should follow, but more importantly he was extremely patriotic to his country that he served in the second world war.

“He was a pragmatist, very few people would know that. He agreed to help push for the decriminalisation of marijuana.”

Latimer’s litigation and broadcasting leadership helped Maori to flourish, said Jones: “His efforts changed the face of New Zealand.”

Jones would remember Latimer’s restlessness to achieve, and his words: “Don’t stand around son, holding the shovel at the hangi pit. Get out and find fresh prey.”

I met Sir Graham when I was around 18, in 1986. He was the Maori Vice-President of the National Party but was very happy to spend time chatting to a Young National on Maori and Treaty issues.

There are arguably few in Maoridom who worked as hard as he did to try and achieve better outcomes for his people.

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