National | Sir Wira Gardiner

Jackson rates Sir Wira Gardiner as one of Māori's greatest advocates

Sir Wira Gardiner will be remembered for his knack for trouble-shooting and his dedication to iwi and the New Zealand Defence Force where he served as a solider, Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson says.

He told Te Ao Tapatahi today about some of Sir Wira's greatest achievements across many career paths and the positive impact that he had on New Zealand history.

Jackson said Sir Wira was a man of “courage” and said he translated the skills that he acquired in the military to his many future endeavours for the benefit of Māori and Māoridom.

Jackson also considers Sir Gardiner “our finest bureaucrat even up to his final appointment of Oranga Tamariki putting that back on track”.

“He is such a special part of our Māori affairs. It’s a very sad day but there are some beautiful tributes coming in.”

Jackson said that Sir Gardiner was a “huge supporter” of Māori politicians like Kelvin Davis and Peeni Henare “Right across the spectrum all our ministers like Kiritapu Allen, Nanaia Mahuta, Meka Whaitiri. He’s just been a great source of support."

“He’s a National Party man, which means nothing really because he’s a Māori first man”.

Sir Wira Gardiner's funeral is being held in Whakatāne on March 19.

Sir Gardiner is survived by his wife Hekia Parata and his five children.