Written on 18 March 2022 by Peter Hughes

Ta Wira

Kua hinga te tōtara o te wao nui a Tāne,

It was with great sadness that I learned of Tā Wira Gardiner’s passing yesterday evening, surrounded by his whānau at home in Gisborne.

My thoughts today are with his whānau and loved ones – and the many people he touched in his life.

Tā Wira, of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa, and Ngāti Pikiao, was an outstanding public servant and a very fine person. But most importantly he was a husband, father, grandfather, whanaunga, friend and colleague to so many. He will be greatly missed.

It’s difficult to know where to start to talk about Tā Wira. His life was filled with strong and meaningful relationships and countless accomplishments – and always, he was there to serve others.

In his many years in the Public Service and time in the Army, Tā Wira always left a mark.

He influenced generations of public servants through his authenticity and steadfast commitment to serving the people of New Zealand. Many exceptional public servants are what they are because of Tā Wira’s mentorship – the inspiration he gave to others will live on.

I’m so glad I had the chance to meet with him last year to present him with Te Tohu Oranga Angitū | Lifetime Achievement Award, as part of Te Hāpai Hapori | Spirit of Service Awards.

Tā Wira was someone who dedicated himself fully to serving the people of New Zealand, and he was so truly deserving of the Award.

Last year, it was announced a research centre dedicated to improving the lives and wellbeing of tamariki would be established within Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi in recognition of Tā Wira’s contributions to society. Truly a fitting legacy for Tā Wira.

Moe mai rā, e te rangatira.

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