Hundreds farewell leader

Kuao Langsbury leaves Otakou marae for the last time. Led by Anglican South Island Maori Bishop...
Kuao Langsbury leaves Otakou marae for the last time. Led by Anglican South Island Maori Bishop the Rt Rev Richard Wallace, pallbearers include Mr Langsbury’s son Hoani and other family members. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Hundreds of people gathered at Otakou Marae yesterday to farewell Kuao Langsbury, a respected Te Runanga o Otakou and Ngai Tahu leader, who died last Saturday.

Since the weekend, about 1500 people had been to the marae on Otago Peninsula to pay their respects to Mr Langsbury as he lay in state, his son, Hoani, said yesterday.

It was "standing room only" in the church at Otakou, with seating outside for about another 100  where television screens showed live coverage of the service.

Among his many achievements, Kuao Langsbury was one of the "unsung heroes" of the Waitangi Treaty negotiations late last century.

And his funeral, a celebration of the life of someone who was "more than just a man" to his whanau and friends, reflected the many and varied  roles he played during his 82 years.

South Island Anglican Maori Bishop the Rt Rev Richard Wallace who officiated at the service spoke of a man who "spent his life working unselfishly for his people". Former Ngai Tahu chairman Tahu Potiki described Mr Langsbury as someone who was always ready to support others, no matter what might previously have passed between them.

Matapura Ellison, of Karitane, recalled Mr Langsbury’s leadership qualities and his dedication to fundraising for the building of the Araiteuru marae which opened in Shetland St, Dunedin, on Waitangi Day, 1980.

From 1981 he was the manager of the Arai Te Uru Kokiri Centre, a private training institution in Dunedin. The kokiri became his "lifelong passion". Mr Langsbury’s services to the community were recognised in 2003 when he was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Sir Tipene O’Regan said Mr Langsbury brought "a very different kind of representation to the Ngai Tahu Trust Board". He described him as  "a person with a very steady mind".

Mr Langsbury was also chairman of the board of directors  of  Ngai Tahu Finance Ltd, Ngai Tahu Fisheries Ltd and Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation.

Although a man who loved his own part of the country, "he was a person with a wider view than just his own coast. He was utterly committed to a tribal-wide pattern of Ngai Tahu investment," Sir Tipene said.

"The best testament we can offer is to commit ourselves to the values he held."

In tributes from family, Mr Langsbury was remembered as a respectful and loving man and a role model to all of them. A lover of rugby, he also loved nature.

Son Hoani spoke of his father having "completed a circle" from birth to death, "and now it’s time for him to start  a new circle, with his ancestors". 

Add a Comment