National | Ngāti Pikiao

Ngāti Pikiao mourns the loss of beloved kuia

Ngapera Bella Pēti was regarded as a pillar of Ngāti Pikiao Koeke and Te Pukenga Koeke o Te Arawa.

She was the "crack up" aunty at every kaupapa, a fantastic cook and a mother of many, including the world-famous Māori kai gatherer, qualified chef and television presenter, Peter Pēti.

Peter Pēti says his inspiration and determination to become a Kai gatherer, qualified chef and TV presenter, came from his mother Ngapera.

“I always wanted to learn from mum and she taught me.I started doing pizzas and a lot of it was desserts as well.

“I remember the lamingtons she used to make and all of the banana cakes. From there is where I picked it all up from, at a very young age and the important part was just knowing the right ingredients, the flavours and the taste.”

Peter says although sometimes as whānau he and his mother would argue ‘over little things’, he always felt her support and how proud she constantly was of him and their whānau.

“Every time that I had a book launch or competitions, my mother was always there and she was always next to me. We would have our little arguments, over ‘other’ things, a little raruraru here and there but overall I felt how proud she was of me, to achieve where I am now.”

George Haimona (Ngāti Pikiao), who is constantly involved in kaupapa on his marae says his aunty was the best "crack up" aunty at every marae kaupapa there was.

“Although Aunty was hilarious, she was always the one who would stand up at every one of her marae and support everything and everyone. Her dream was to have the next generation come through and do the same.”

Haimona says that with her death, although it is very sad, he wants his aunt to know her dream will live on through all of her descendants and all of her whānau.

“She would tell everyone that 'if you are free, then go back home to your marae and help, do the mahi and support the whānau'. She embodied everything she said, she went home and did the mahi and her dream will come true. We are doing exactly what she said by freeing up time to be home. So we will miss her, how she stood and presented herself, how she uplifted every kaupapa at every one of our marae, we will miss that about Aunty.”

Peter Pēti says his māmā's legacy will live on forever.