10 Oct 2017
Creative New Zealand mourns the passing of Lewis Moeau QSO (Rongowhakaata, Ngai Tāmanuhiri, Te Aitanga-ā-Mahaki and Ngāti Rongomaiwahine) who died at the weekend aged 79.
E te roimata e taheke i runga. Kōmaru ana aku roimata. He wairua pō kia tangi au. He puna anō rā te utuhia i te roa ko te tau. Ko to aroha rā, ko to tinana te whakarehunga iho. Haere atu rā te uri o Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga ā Māhaki, me Ngai Tāmanuhiri. Ko koe rā tēnei e koro, kua tiraha nei. Kua rere noa atu tō wairua kia rātau te tini, me te mano e tatari mai rā ki te pōhiri i a koe. Nō reira koutou te hunga kua okioki, koutou te hunga kua wahangū, koutou te hunga kua wheturangitia haere ki te au te rena, te urunga te taka, te moenga te whakaarahia. Waiho rā tātou ki kōnei tangi ai, haku ai. Moe mai, moe mai rā.
A founding member of the Arts Council of New Zealand (Toi Aotearoa) in 1994, kaumātua and former treaty negotiator, Mr Moeau was a senior public servant who served in the highest levels of Government, including as kaumātua for the New Zealand Governor-General and pou whakahaere (cultural adviser) to the Prime Minister from 2009.
Mr Moeau began his career in 1956 when he took up a position at the Department of Māori Affairs (now Te Puni Kōkiri). He dedicated his time in the public service to advancing the cause of Māoridom in various roles including Māori Land Court interpreter and lead negotiator for the Rongowhakaata claims settlement.
He was one of the last Tohunga o Te Reo (language masters) of his region, and shared his knowledge and expertise among his own people and more widely throughout the public service for decades.
The inaugural chairman of Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust, Mr Moeau sat on many boards including Mangatu Incorporated, Awapuni Moana Trust and Arai Matawai Incorporated. He was chief negotiator during the Rongowhakaata Treaty of Waitangi settlement process and thereafter was chairman of the Rongowhakaata post-settlement governance entity. He was awarded the Companion of the Queen’s Service Order for a public service career of more than 60 years.