e rere wairua, e rere

Hinemoa HIlliard
Hinemoa Hilliard at Barb’s birthday

One of the many people I met through the Museum Shop days was Hinemoa. I seem to have always known her but I think the first time we made contact was when she invited me to her house to talk about marketing. She was involved with Haeata Collective. This was a group of strong women who, amongst other things installed a fabulous exhibition – Mana Tiriti at the City Art gallery in Wellington in 1990. Hinemoa was, before she died this week, doing research on these women for her Masters Thesis.

At her farewell from Porirua this week we sang Purea nei, a waiata I’ve always loved and one that seemed so appropriate for Hinemoa.

I didn’t see Hinemoa regularly; like me she enjoyed her own company. She was a close friend of our friend Krysia who died in Malaysia. It was Hinemoa who came to meet Krysia with me (and appropriate kuia and kaumatua of course) and who talked with Krysia’s daughter, Keri-Mei. It is fitting that Keri-Mei was amongst one of the last people to speak with Hine on Saturday.

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Hinemoa was always a kind and good friend to me. She helped me find work when I was made redundant by offering me tutoring hours at Massey in the then Cultural Identity paper (now called Critical Studies). I also did marking for several years after that. I loved being part of the team – at various times – and loved watching Hinemoa teach. A light came into her eyes when she held tutorials. She welcomed all questions and dealt with them equally. I remember doing the Treaty lecture with her – an unusual approach where we all took different roles. After I spoke she’d speak and she laughingly told me later she was determined I (representing the Pakeha settlers) wasn’t going to have the last word.

We became closer after Krysia died – taking an aunterly role with Keri-Mei and being part of a group of women who grew closer because of our loss. After my first hip operation she took me to WOMAD in New Plymouth where we stayed with my equally magpie-like friend Fiona. The two women hit it off and spent an hour or two impressed with each other’s knowledge of ‘things’ and of their collections. Hinemoa was a great magpie – her garage is full of ‘possibly useful’ things like wrought iron and all manner of things for art projects.

She was respected by her colleagues and friends for her insights, her knowledge of things Maori, her generosity and her love of fun.

She’ll be missed by us, but most of all, I think, by her sister Moana and her beloved nephew Noel, with whom she took a propriety role.

Rest well by dear friend. Thanks for your love, your care and your friendship.

Purea nei e te hau
Horoia e te ua
Whitiwhitia e te ra
Mahea ake nga poraruraru
Makere ana nga here.

E rere wairua, e rere
Ki nga ao o te rangi
Whitiwhitia e te ra
Mahea ake nga poraruraru
Makere ana nga here,
Makere ana nga here.

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