National | Ngāi Te Rangi

Tauranga Moana mourns the loss of Kihi Ngātai

Tauranga Moana is in mourning after the death of Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Pukenga elder, Kihi Ngātai at 91 years old.

Ngātai was born and raised at Matapihi where, after returning from serving in the Korean War, it is believed he and his wife Maria planted the first kiwifruit vines in Tauranga Moana, the origins of the kiwifruit industry now common among Māori landowners.

He also dedicated much of his life to serving his iwi and the wider Tauranga area.

Ngātai was the first chairperson of the Ngāi Te Rangi Rūnanga. He also served some time as a member of the Waitangi Tribunal.

His body arrived at Whareroa Marae this morning, where he will lie in state before his final service on Thursday.