A pensioner killed in an Auckland motorway crash was a former
Kiwi league representative and Maori All Black.
Ngati Kahu kaumatua Dennis Hansen died on Wednesday.
It is understood Mr Hansen, 80, may have had a heart attack,
which led to his car crashing on the Lincoln Rd off-ramp on
the North-Western motorway about 2.10pm.
Police investigations into the cause of the crash are not
expected to be completed for several days. No one else was
hurt. An autopsy was to be completed yesterday afternoon,
with Mr Hansen's body then to be taken to the Hoani Waititi
Marae at Glen Eden.
As he has been a long-time leader in the Auckland Maori
community, city people are likely to want his tangi there,
but whanau from his Te Paatu hapu were in Auckland yesterday
pressing for his return to Pamapuria, near Kaitaia, soon.
Mr Hansen was an outstanding rugby player in his youth,
making the Kiwis league team in the 1950s and later playing
for the Maori All Blacks.
He held a number of positions in the Department of Maori
Affairs, now Te Puni Kokiri, and lost his job in a 1986
scandal over loans for a Maori business in Hawaii, exposed by
then National opposition spokesman for Maori affairs, Winston
Peters. Mr Hansen was a kaumatua for the Auckland police and
Auckland District Health Board, and was involved in penal
reform policy, victim support, restorative justice and
As a member of the Waipareira Trust, he had a bitter public
falling out with John Tamihere over the size of a golden
handshake following the former MP's resignation as chief
executive, but the pair subsequently made up.
Hundreds of people attended an 80th birthday celebration for
Mr Hansen in Auckland's Civic Theatre in June.
During the party, he displayed the humour that had made him
so popular, saying the mother of his three children had
divorced him because he had flat feet. He brought the house
down when he said his feet had been in other women's flats.
Mr Hansen was awarded the Queen's Service Medal in 2010 for
services to Maori and the community.
- Mike Barrington of the Northern Advocate