Sir Graham Latimer


Sir Graham Latimer has died.

Sir Graham Latimer, the politician who helped make the Treaty of Waitangi a cornerstone of modern New Zealand society, has died aged 90.

Sir Graham, a former National party member and a president of the New Zealand Maori Council, was appointed one of the first three members of the Waitangi Tribunal.

He famously retrieved tūpuna Māori from an English auction house in 1988, and stopped the public sale of human remains.

Prime Minister John Key said Sir Graham was a great advocate of Maori rights and Maori interests.

“[He was] someone that the National Party knew well and we were very fond of.   

“I had the opportunity to meet him on numerous occasions in the time that I was both Leader of the Opposition and Prime Minister, and I think his family will be very proud of what he’s achieved in his life.”

Mr Key said Sir Graham’s greatest contribution was his work for the Maori Council, especially in the Far North.

“He worked hard to try and see progress for his people. We know there are still big issues there but he was very strong for [Maori] in that area.”

Former Labour List MP and Cabinet Minister Shane Jones said Sir Graham’s death left a huge hole in Maoridom.

“The Northland kauri tree has fallen. Sir Graham led the way for me and many other Maori. Many are the tribes and families who have benefited from Sir Graham’s leadership and dedication to the development of Maoridom and the wider country,” Mr Jones said.

“From serving in World War II through his time in Parliament and leadership of the Waitangi Tribunal he has fulfilled all the leadership roles his elders called on him to do and he did them all extremely well.”

Whether it be Maori broadcasting, Maori fisheries, Maori land claims or Maori TV, Sir Graham had had a huge influence on them all, he said.

“And a craftier politician you have never encountered, and he remained till the end a staunch leader of Maoridom and an arch pragmatist,” Mr Jones said.



– NZ Herald

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