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Ed Sheeran

Te Uri o Hau mourn the loss of champion Russell Kemp

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Northland iwi Te Uri o Hau has lost a champion with the passing of Russell Kemp on Wednesday from cancer.

He was 71.

Mr Kemp was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year’s honours list.

He was born in Kaiwaka and followed in the footsteps of his grandparents on both sides who worked all their lives on and for Otamatea Marae.

He was encouraged by his elders to participate in tribal affairs, and gave particular credit to Sir Graham and Lady Emily Latimer.

In 1991 Mr Kemp lodged the Wai 229 treaty claim for Te Uri o Hau in 1991 and negotiated the tribe’s settlement, which was enacted in 2002.

The settlement quickly ran into trouble as crown forestry land at Te Arai south of Mangawhai which the crown sold as suitable for development proved to be environmentally sensitive because of the presence of rare fairy tern.

The proposed development had to be scaled back, and ongoing regulatory and legal battles put huge strain on the trust.

Mr Kemp had worked as a commercial fisher, a farmer, and his wife Barbara owned and ran the Three Furlongs hotel at Kaiwaka for more than a decade.

He was also chair of Te Uri o Hau Settlement Trust and Te Runanga o Ngati Whatua.

His tangi is at Otamatea Marae overlooking the Kaipara Harbour, with the funeral service on Saturday at 11am.


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