Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu joins with the motu who mourn the passing of a beautiful guardian of the land, Peter Te Rangihiroa Ramsden MNZM.
Te toto o te tangata, he kai. Te oranga o te tangata, he whenua.
Matua Peter lived by his absolute belief that a close relationship between whānau and whenua is all the foundation you need to uphold Whānau Ora.
“His passion for the land saw him embark on a multitude of initiatives including maara kai, permaculture, sustainability, papakāinga, and the whole range of food farming from traditional kai through to organic food production (taewa). Te Wānanga Taiao ō Koukourarata that he and his whānau championed in 2015 was a frontrunner investment in the inaugural Wave for Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu,” says Tā Mark Solomon, Chairperson of the Commissioning Agency GPL.
“My cousin was ahead of his time,” says Tā Mark. “He believed the market garden would be a catalyst for hapu-led food farming ventures, education and research opportunities. The cultural mapping research that Koukourarata Rūnanga had done, told them that whānau want to return to their lands. He was motivated by the mokopuna – knowing that more whānau eating healthy kai, increasing knowledge of their history and whakapapa, and acquiring a sense of wellbeing from working the land, was a legacy worth investing in.”
“He was a gentle giant, generous in the way he shared his time and wisdom,” says Helen Leahy, Pouārahi. “A giant scholar – engaging with Lincoln University, the Bio-protection Research Centre, the Biological Husbandry Unit. He also wanted whānau to get their hands dirty; to be imbued with that passionate love he had for the whenua as the pathway to finding their way home. He was instrumental in establishing a new whare wānanga to ensure the marae (Tūtehuarewa) would stand as a vibrant place of learning as well as a wellspring for whanaungatanga. He loved nothing more than rangatahi coming for noho at the bay; to inspire in them the opportunity to realise their potential for kaitiakitanga of the whenua and the moana, for future generations to inherit.
“Our thoughts are with the whānau pani as they take their beloved one home to the moana Te Arawhānui a Makawhiu; home to the maunga Te Ahupātiki; home to the hapū Ngāti Huikai, Ngāi Tūtehuarewa and Ngāi Tūhaitara ki Koukourārata of Ngāi Tahu. Our special love to his darling Annie; his cherished Mihiata and Mananui; his beloved mokopuna; the whānau and to all who hold a precious whakapapa connection to Uncle Pete.
“As our tears blend with the gentle rain from above we remember a charmer with a twinkle in his eye; a mentor and a champion; someone who inspired us and incited us to action; a friend; a hard-worker, a father figure; a soldier for the cause, an ambassador for change; a leader for us all and most of all a believer in whānau. Rest In Peace our Gentle Giant.”