RIP Titewhai Harawira

Titewhai Harawira has died aged 90. My condolences to her eight children and many many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

My views on Titewhai changed over time. I have to admit to a degree of admiration for her sheer determination where she appointed herself in charge of accompanying the Prime Minister onto Waitangi, and no amount of kaumata could stop her.

She was a force of nature and made a real difference to the cause she believed in.

When someone dies, you should mainly focus on the positive things they did, but also not whitewash their life.

I am disappointed (but not overly surprised) that as far as I can tell none of the half dozen stories on her in the main media sites mention her nine month prison sentence for a “vicious and violent” assault on a mental health patient in her care. This should not define her legacy, but it is significant.

I’ll finish with a quote from a Herald story which reflects her personality quite well:

“People like Kingi Taurua, telling the media he’s afraid of me. He has a tattoo on his face like he’s a warrior but he should have it on his bum.”