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Pā Hemi Hekiera sm

Pā Hemi Hekiera sm

Pā Hemi Hekiera sm

Born in Puniho, Taranaki, 11 February 1940

Professed 28 January 1960

Ordained 16 December 1964

Died in Rotorua 5 February 2016

Thanks to Fr Philip Cody sm for the following article, based on his eulogy, with additional material provided by Marist Archives.

It is fitting that we are holding this tangi under the cloak of Taranaki, Hemi’s mountain. It will provide shade for him on his journey, so that, with our prayer today, he may go to his final mountain and home in heaven.

One lady, on hearing of Hemi’s death, offered sympathy to his family and commented: ‘Pā was a good person, a good Marist and a good priest; he was passionate and a person of vision.’

Hemi was indeed passionate. He never let a goal go. One of his favourite sayings on the golf course (or other times he may have seemed cornered) was ‘double or quits.’!! He applied that passion to all aspects of his life. I remember one time as a student at Waimarama with him. There was an abandoned golf links course there which we had revived. It was 9 holes and the record for a round was 20. Hemi was determined to beat it. We would start off: 2, 2, 1, and then 5! ‘We’ll start again,’ he would say and so on … we finished in the dark. I’m not sure if we got the record or not!

That quality of life – to start and start again – Hemi exemplified in his life and ministry. Starting Te Ahi Kā (faith-sharing), then the vibrant Waka Aroha in North and South Islands and its energy and ability to encourage people to be fully Māori and fully Catholic in God’s ‘Canoe of Love.’ Then Kura Tau and then starting again with Whaia te Whaea – always seeking the best and newer ways for people to grow.

Hemi was a person of vision and his vison was utterly wrapped up with Te Whaea, Mary! Utter faith and trust in her. He wore out his Rosary beads and a set had to be put together to go with him in his coffin. It was her call, her mission, her wisdom he sought and followed – ‘Whaia Te Whaea.’ Follow the guiding hand of Mary.

Hemi held being Māori lightly, without fuss. And yet he thought it important to learn te reo Māori well and speak it. E Hemi, me āwhina te iwi Māori kia tupu haere anō – i ngā Whaea tapu; i ngā pirihi, i ngā katakita Māori, in ngā wāhi katoa.

Hemi spent his ministry to strengthen Māori as Māori and Catholic in Māori Mission, Māori Pastoral Care and finally in Whaia Te Whaea. This took place in Whangarei, Whanganui, Paki Paki, Te Puke, Wellington and Porirua. Then these last 20 years in the Mission of Mary at Hato Paora, Feilding, Te Kuiti, Hamilton, Taumarunui, Te Puna and Katikati and finally based at Rotorua. In fact Hemi with his vision was keen that the Society of Mary reach out to the whanau Māori in Australia! Hemi was also great at popping up to stay, to catch up, to watch a race on TV and then move on. So many marriages, baptisms, tangi…

So Hemi, te Karere o Te Atua, Messenger of God, we honour you and your life which began 75 years ago here in Taranaki. We thank you for a rich life among us, for your passion and vision. Now may the wind of God take you to the fullness of life. Mā te hou kaha a Te Atua koe ki te oranga tonutanga e pupuri. Haere kei raro i te korowai a Meri, haere.


1965 Meeanee

June 1965 -- June 1966 Whangarei

June 1966 -- Whanganui

1967 -- 1970 Whangarei

1971 -- 1975 Boulcott St, Wellington Maori Mission

1976 -- 1981 Pakipaki (Superior)

1982 -- 1984 Te Puke

1985 -- 1990 Porirua, Tu Hono (Superior)

1991 -- June 1997 Whanganui

1997 -- 1999 Hato Paora, in residence, to prepare new initiatives to evangelise Maori in various parts of Aotearoa NZ

2000 Feilding (in residence)

2001 -- 2003 St George’s Parish, Te Kuiti

2004 Maori Pastoral Care, Hamilton

2007 Taumaranui, new MPC initiative in Hamilton Diocese

2010 St Joseph’s, Te Puna, Parish Priest

2015 Whaia Te Whaea, Rotorua

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