Glasses of whisky were raised as Ralph Hotere ONZ passed his
favourite Careys Bay Hotel for the last time yesterday
''He always liked a whisky, did Ralph,'' a local observed.
Across the road, a yellow Aramoana flag hung from half-mast
in front of a glassy Otago Harbour.
Hundreds of residents lined the streets of Port Chalmers to
pay their respects as the funeral cortege passed through the
artist's beloved adopted township at 9.24am.
Uniformed schoolchildren stood in homage alongside Port Otago
workers in orange overalls.
The hearse, a black 1927 Chrysler, was manufactured four
years before the artist was born.
Hone Papita Raukura Hotere was widely considered New
Zealand's greatest living artist until his death in Dunedin
last Sunday, aged 81.
He was awarded the Order of New Zealand in the 2012 New
Year's Honours for his contribution to contemporary art.
was standing room only at St Joseph's Cathedral for the 11am
Requiem Mass, where people of all ages and social strata
formed a tapestry of the artist's life and influence.
A Maori cloak was draped across the casket, which was stamped
with Hotere's name in his trademark stencil lettering. His
ONZ medal and a photo of a smiling Hotere at his investiture
Speakers included Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
Chris Finlayson, Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples and
poet Prof Bill Manhire, while the artist's widow, Mary
McFarlane, and daughter, Andrea Hotere-Naish, were among
''A farewell to the old man of Port Chalmers,'' Te Runanga o
Ngai Tahu Otakou representative Tahu Potiki said.
''A man whose great gifts have been shared with and claimed
by the nation.''
Mr Finlayson said Hotere was ''a great New Zealander and one
of Dunedin's favourite sons''.
''He was a man with a mission. Ralph certainly confirmed the
pen and brush can be mightier than the sword. He felt
compelled to speak through his work and, in doing so, he made
us think about what is truly important to us as people,'' he
''He was born in a raupo whare in remote Mitimiti and rose to
appointment to the highest honour this country can bestow - a
member of the Order of New Zealand.''
Other speakers recalled his humble, gentle and respectful
nature, spirituality and love of people.
Hotere had experienced ''sadness and disappointment'' in his
last year of life, but also ''great joy, love and laughter,''
family friend Judith Ablett-Kerr said.
She shared his pride at his ONZ investiture at the Dunedin
Public Art Gallery last March.
''He was incredibly moved by that honour. Tears streamed down
his face when he read the citation. His eyes sparkled that
day. There was not a dry eye in the house when the
Governor-General put the medal around his neck.''
Dr Sharples recalled Hotere's University of Otago years and
mischievous humour, drawing gales of laughter.
''He was always trying to finish the lines of [friend and
poet] Hone Tuwhare's poems.
''He was a philosopher who made people think. He stamped his
mark on the world with his art. He was also an advocate for
rights of Maori. He was very proud to be a New Zealander and
Maori,'' Dr Sharples said.
''The four tribes will now travel to his marae and pay their
respects to him and his family.''
Poet Bill Manhire read a poem he had written for his
long-time friend and collaborator.
It spoke of Hotere painting in his Careys Bay studio, while
the world danced around him. Hotere returns today to the
Matihetihe Marae, at his Mitimiti birthplace in Northland,
for the tangi.