Former NZ First MP Pita Paraone dies

Well-known Ngāti Hine kaumātua and Waitangi stalwart Pita Paraone died in Auckland Hospital. Photo: NZME.
Well-known Ngāti Hine kaumātua and Waitangi stalwart Pita Paraone died in Auckland Hospital. Photo: NZME.
Northland's Ngāti Hine people are in mourning, following the death of well-known kaumātua, Waitangi stalwart and former NZ First MP Pita Paraone.

Mr Paraone died at 2am this morning in Auckland Hospital.

A whānau member says the much-loved elder had heart surgery about three weeks ago, and failed to recover.

Mr Paraone was known for his quiet but firm diplomacy and was for many years the programme organiser for Waitangi Day, and the chair of the Waitangi National Trust.

And he served for more than 20 years on the Waitangi National Trust, eight of them as chair.

He was instrumental in moving the annual protest-ridden pōwhiri for the Crown from the Waitangi marae to the Treaty Grounds, two years ago.

Mr Paraone had a long career in the public service, and was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, before entering parliament as a New Zealand First List MP in 2002.

He served a total of three terms, losing his seat in the last election.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is deeply saddened by the death of Mr Paraone.

Mr Peters describes Mr Paraone as a NZ First stalwart and sends his condolences to his wife, Elva, his three children and wider whānau.

"Northland, and the people of New Zealand, have lost a man who cared deeply for his people and country, and worked endlessly to make New Zealand a better country for us all," Mr Peters said.

Mr Paraone is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

His family are now preparing to bring him north for the tangihana at his home marae in Mōtatau in the Bay of Islands.

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