Former Māori Land Court judge Ken Heta Hingston, has died after collapsing at his home in Rotorua on Sunday evening.
Mr Hingston and his makau, Makoha Gardiner, were instrumental in the formation of the Māori Party following the Foreshore and Seabed hīkoi in 2004. He later served as founding president and co-vice president of the party.
He retired from an illustrious legal career at the age of 75.
He was made a Companion of the Queens Service Order in honour of his legal career spanning more than 40 years.
He was the lawyer for the New Zealand Maori Council, the Te Arawa Māori Trust Board and the Tūhoe/Waikaremoana Māori Trust Board before becoming a judge on the Māori Land Court for 15 years.
￼￼He was counsel for Ngāti Pikiao during the Kaituna River Claim and for the Māori landowners in the Rangatira Block Royal Commission.
Mr Hingston worked as a judge in the Cook Islands High Court and Court of Appeal and the Chief Justice of the High Court of Niue. These appointments were in tandem with his Māori Land Court work.
He is most notably recognised as the judge who made the initial decision on Māori ownership of the foreshore and seabed, which was upheld by the Court of Appeal in 2003.
Mr Hingston was involved in the incorporation of the Te Arawa Returned Services League after serving two tours of duty in the Malaysian jungle where he carried the rank of Corporal first class.
Mr Hingston’s tūpāpaku will be taken to Rongomaipāpā Marae at Horohoro south of Rotorua on Monday at midday. The service will be held on Wednesday at 1pm.
E te rangatira, e Heta. E moe.