National | Hekenukumai Busby

Master navigator Sir Hekenukumai Busby has passed away

Māoridom is reeling once again at the loss of another revered figure.

Decorated master navigator Sir Hekenukumai Puhipi, ONZM, MBE (Te Uri o Hina, Te Rarawa) has passed away aged 86.

A family spokesperson has confirmed to Te Ao that Sir Hekenukumai Busby encountered a serious health event last night in the hospital.

Surrounded by his family, it's believed there is some comfort knowing that he is reunited with his beloved wife Ngāhiraka (Hilda) who passed away 23 years ago.

Widely-accredited as reviving traditional Māori voyaging practises, he has sailed more than 30,000 nautical miles to every Polynesian island as well as making three circumnavigations of the North Island since 1992.

Busby is acknowledged as carving a total of 52 traditional waka, and despite his many appointments to memberships of boards over the years, his crown jewel remains the establishment of Te Wānanga o Kupe Mai Tawhiti, based at Te Aurere.

He was appointed as a Knight Companion of the Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honours - bestowed at Waitangi in February 2019.

Te Ao understands that Northland kaumātua will meet tonight in Kaitāia to discuss with the bereaved family options for what is expected to be one of the biggest funerals in Northland in recent times.

Sir, may you rest, while the multitudes grieve your departure.