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Ralph Hotere remembered as a 'great New Zealander'

Published: 1:27PM Thursday February 28, 2013 Source: Fairfax

Mourners at a requiem mass in Dunedin for celebrated artist Ralph Hotere have heard of his diversity, depth, humility and personal integrity.

Minister of Culture and Heritage Chris Finlayson said Hotere was a great New Zealander and one of Dunedin's favourite adopted sons.

The artist, whose real name was Hone Papita Raukura, reflected his views on social and political issues, threats to the environment, apartheid and racism, in his works, Finlayson said.

Judith Ablett-Kerr, QC, described her long friendship with Hotere, which began when he was fighting to prevent the loss, through port development, of his land at Observation Pt in Port Chalmers. It was home to some of his treasured sculptures.

The friendship developed to a deep affection and she used to call Hotere "the man". Even a massive stroke 12 years ago could not keep him down, she said.

Once he was bestowed with the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2011, she began referring to him as "the great man" which always raised a chuckle from him, she said.