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NZAF mourns loss of Henare Te Ua

Thu 3 May 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation is today mourning the loss of its kaumatua, Henare Te Ua, a champion for safe sex and the fight against HIV. Trustees and senior staff, past and present, have been paying tribute to a man who helped to bridge the divide between Maori and Pakeha cultures and paved the way for NZAF to become a bicultural organisation. “Henare was an artist, an orator, a visionary. He was compassionate, spiritual and had a remarkable capacity for people, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or sexuality,” says NZAF Board Chair Hoani Jeremy Lambert. “Henare possessed immense dignity and helped guide the Foundation through rough waters. Although he will not be with us physically, Henare will continue to be a source of inspiration for all of us fighting the HIV epidemic in Aotearoa. E koro haere, haere ki tua o te arai honohonotia ki a ratou e tatariana mou.” Labour MP Charles Chauvel is a former NZAF trustee (1990-94) and board chair (1995). He says Henare Te Ua played “an enormously significant role in helping frame our thinking about how the Foundation should work with Maori in a meaningful, not tokenistic, way. “Most importantly, he was utterly dedicated to responding to the challenge of HIV in our communities. He was a person of such integrity and with such marvellous networks that he was a huge asset in the struggle against HIV. He was somebody that I admired greatly and loved a lot.” Warren Lindberg, former NZAF Executive Director (1986-98), remembers being a regular guest on Te Ua's Whenua programme to talk about HIV and AIDS, and says Te Ua was a guiding voice as NZAF struggled with issues around biculturalism in the mid to late 1990s. “Everyone was so impressed with his enormous ability to see both Maori and Pakeha perspectives and find the common ground. Henare was clear that takatapui need a place and an identity within the Foundation.” Jonathan Smith, former NZAF Trustee (1996) and Board Chair (1997-98) says Te Ua's passing is “a very sad loss to radio, the gay community, NZAF and to me - he was my mentor and my inspirational leader. He advised and guided me as NZAF chair safely through the process of introducing bicultural policies within the Foundation.” Those wishing to pay their respects to Henare can do so from 10am today (Thursday) at Te Karaiti Te Pou Herenga Waka Marae at 35 Cape Rd, Mangere. From 10am Friday, Henare will be moved to St Matthew's in the City at 187 Federal St. A service will be held there at 7pm. NZAF Executive Director Rachael Le Mesurier says the Foundation will be supporting both the service at St Matthew's and will be “honouring the extraordinary gift of his guidance and wisdom at the tangi in Gisborne”, which will be held at the weekend, with burial to follow on Monday.     Ref: NZAF (m)

Credit: GayNZ.com News Staff

First published: Thursday, 3rd May 2007 - 12:00pm

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