National | Hunting

Wahine Toa Hunter dies suddenly

Aotearoa's hunting and food gathering community is in mourning over the shocking death of a Wahine Toa Hunter.

Parekura Billie-Louise Dinsdale-Whareaorere, 20, of Te Puke died suddenly while in east coast settlement of Te Araroa on New Year’s Day.

Police have confirmed they were called to a sudden death incident in Te Araroa at 3am on January 1. The death has been referred to the coroner.

Friends and whānau have expressed their aroha and disbelief at the devastating news.

“You will be missed dearly,” one friend wrote.

“You've left a huge imprint on this world no one will ever forget who you are the hunter gatherer the provider for your family and just such a beautiful soul.”

“At a loss for words girl," another wrote.

Dinsdale-Whareaorere a talented athlete and horse rider was also a contributor and advocate for the Wahine Toa Hunters, a group that encourages and teaches women to hunt.

Photos of her many hunting expeditions with pigs and deer have gone viral in recent months.

Wahine Toa Hunters founder, Pania Tepaiho Marsh, who took part in a teen suicide awareness march in September, posted on Facebook, “A huge loss for women’s hunting and the sisterhood.”

“The most heartiest hunter out. Heartbroken is an understatement sis. The sisterhood will forever hit the hills in your honour.”

Dinsdale-Whareaorere’s whānau said she suffered from depression.

In November 2019 she took to social media to highlight mental health awareness. In a post to Facebook she wrote, “Please don’t give up on your friends. Call them. Go be around them, even when they say they don’t want you around them.”

Tangihanga details are yet to be released.