Hon Tariana Turia and Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Maori Party Co-Leaders
2 August 2012
E te kuia rangatira e Jean, kua hoki atu koe ki te kopu o te whenua, takoto mai, takoto mai, moe mai ra. E kore matou e wareware i o mahi, i to kaha, i to manawanui ki te atawhai i to iwi. Haere ra, haere ra, haere ra.
The Maori Party is saddened by the loss of language stalwart and inspirational leader, Jean Puketapu-Waiwai, QSO, JP.
“Nanny Jean has been loved by generations of our mokopuna who have grown under her tutelage” said Dr Pita Sharples. “Thirty years ago Jean, along with Kara Puketapu, was a driving force in founding Pukeatua in Wainuiomata – the first kohanga reo in Aotearoa”.
“After our first Hui Whakatauira in 1981 where the concept of ‘kohanga mo te reo’ was developed Jean went straight back to her community in Wainuiomata and from then on, kohanga was born. She has never left its side” said Dr Sharples.
“Her mission in life was clear – there’s a simple solution to avoid the extinction of te reo Maori, use it. And use it she did, over a long and distinguished career advancing the survival of the language and advancing the aspirations of Maori”.
“Jean has been a pioneer of the people and for the people, whether it be her beloved Waiwhetu marae, of whether it be promoting literacy skills in working with African-American communities in Chicago; or supporting her husband in field studies in New Mexico” said Hon Tariana Turia.
“She continued her passion and her persistence for kohanga reo throughout her life and in fact two years ago her contribution to the reopening of the new state-of-the-art kohanga on the old Wainuiomata Intermediate site was recognised by all”.
“Our sympathies and love are extended to her whanau in the loss of a cherished mother, kuia, aunty, sister and very special friend, advisor and advocate”.
“Our thoughts are with her many mokopuna and mokopuna tuarua who will forever hold dear the memory of Nanny Jean – as indeed will generations of whanau whose lives she has touched forever” said Mrs Turia.