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Sir Howard - A True Son Of New Zealand

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Howard Morrison
Howard Morrison

With the passing of Sir Howard Morrison, New Zealand has lost one of its most ardent and true sons and one of its most influential leaders, Associate Minister of Māori Affairs Georgina te Heuheu said today. "Sir Howard will be universally remembered as one of our entertainment greats, a path-finder and icon in the industry, a man of great wit and a keen sense of humour, someone who could make us laugh easily, laugh often and laugh at ourselves," she said. "Sir Howard could have built himself a glittering entertainment career on the international stage but instead he chose to focus his extraordinary talents right here in New Zealand, because this is where he could make his greatest contribution. "Sir Howard's contribution went beyond his capacity to entertain. He was perhaps our greatest cultural ambassador, choosing to stay in New Zealand to help build our nation. "In his often direct but charming way, Sir Howard broke down barriers and helped Pakeha and Māori New Zealanders see each other more clearly, understand each other better and enjoy each other. "He was much loved and admired and was therefore able to make us feel comfortable about ourselves. The significance of his contribution during a 50-year career can not be over-estimated. He was able to cross divides and bring people together at a critical time in our history. "He was also a leader for young Māori in particular. He used his creative talents to help improve the lives of young people, encouraging them to lift their sights, seek excellence and achieve." Working for the Department of Māori Affairs in the 1970s, Sir Howard took on an extensive programme of school visits aimed at improving pupils' sense of self esteem and pride in their culture. His 1979 Tu Tangata : Stand Tall nation-wide tour saw him touch the lives of many thousands of young Māori, many of whom today say they owe their success to him. Sir Howard treasured his early upbringing in Ruatahuna and although he frequently travelled overseas he never forgot his beginnings, nor where his home was - Ohinemutu, Lake Rotorua, firmly ensconced in the bosom of his tribe, Ngati Whakaue of Te Arawa. "He can rest in peace knowing he has made a difference for his people and his country," Mrs te Heuheu said. "His contribution to New Zealand is significant and enduring. He was a man who walked easily in both worlds, admired in both, a rangatira of great mana, a gentleman and true knight of the realm. "I will miss him as a brother."

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