Wellington City Council joins our iwi partners Taranaki Whānui, and indeed te ao Māori and Aotearoa who are mourning and celebrating the life and legacy of a remarkable individual who touched the hearts of many and left an indelible mark on the beautiful nation of New Zealand. Dr Ihakara “Kara” Porutu Puketapu, a true visionary and a tireless advocate for change, has left us, but his contributions will continue to inspire and guide us for generations to come.
The City Council’s Tātai Heke Māori, Karepa Wall, says: “The greatest tribute to a life well-lived is the continuation of their noble work, and we are blessed to have the input of Kara into our Tūpiki Ora strategy which we are focused on achieving and bringing to life over the next few years, for Kara, for our whole community and for the future of Wellington.”
Ihakara was a beacon of hope, a symbol of strength, and a champion for equality and justice. With unwavering determination, he dedicated his life to uplifting the lives of his fellow New Zealanders, particularly those who were marginalized and voiceless. His passion for social reform was unmatched, and he worked relentlessly to dismantle barriers and create a more inclusive society.
Mayor Tory Whānau says: “The impact of a single soul can ripple through generations and I’m proud of not only what my iwi has done, but also what Kara Jnr is doing alongside me in his capacity as an iwi leader for our city.”
As a trailblazer in the realm of education, Kara Puketapu believed that knowledge is the key to empowerment. He fought tirelessly to ensure that every child in New Zealand had access to quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances. Through his initiatives, countless young minds were nurtured and given the opportunity to thrive, shaping the future of our nation.
Ihakara was not only a visionary in education but also a driving force for cultural preservation. He recognised the rich tapestry of New Zealand's indigenous heritage and worked ardently to safeguard and celebrate it. His efforts to promote the Māori language and culture have been instrumental in revitalising traditions that were at risk of fading away, fostering a sense of pride and unity among all New Zealanders.
Beyond his advocacy and leadership, Ihakara had a remarkable ability to connect with people on a personal level. His warm smile, compassionate spirit, and genuine concern for others endeared him to all who had the privilege of crossing his path. He was a mentor, a friend, and a guiding light, always ready to lend an ear and offer support Wellington wide.
City Council Chief Executive Barbara McKerrow says: “His legacy will continue to inspire us to be agents of change, to champion equality, and to uphold the values of inclusivity and compassion.”
Wellington City Council extends our deepest condolences and gratitude for sharing Ihakara Puketapu with us. May you find solace in knowing that his legacy will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of the people whose lives he touched throughout Wellington, throughout Aotearoa and the world.
Ngūnguru ana koe e te manu rere tirihou ki runga ki a Taranaki mounga, kia ātea te titiro ki ngā tai pounamu o ngā mātua o te ao o mua mahara. Moe mai rā e koro!