He’s been pivotal in the growth of Ngāti Toa Rangatira over the past 25 years.
On Monday, Matiu Nohorua Te Rei was acknowledged for his services to Māori in this year’s Queen’s Birthday honours.
He becomes a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
Sir Matiu told Te Karere he was surprised to receive the honour given his record of opposing the Government for its breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi.
“He tino hōnore hoki ki a au. Kei te tino koa. He hōnore ohorere ki a au i te mea ko ngā take kua tukuna mai e te kāwanatanga ki te whawhai hoki au i ā rātou,” hei tāna.
(“This is a great honour for me. I'm happy. I'm surprised by this acknowledgement because of the issues I've had opposing the Government.”)
The Ngāti Toa Rangatira Rūnanga Chairman, Taku Parai, said there’s a lot that Sir Matiu has achieved to uplift the iwi.
“Tōna mahi ki roto i te mahi ika, te mahi hauora, te mahi ki te whakatika i te hē o te kāwanatanga mai ki roto i a mātou nei kerēme - koia nā mahi katoa ki roto ki a mātou he tino harikoa mātou i te kāinga,” hei tā Parai.
(“His efforts within the fisheries claims, health and well-being, and to address the Government's breaches of the Treaty - all the work that he has done for the tribe we're very happy of his achievements.”)
Mr Parai said Matiu Rei wasn’t afraid to challenge the Government.
“He tangata tino kaha mō tōna whakaaro ki roto i ngā mea, ngā mea mahi. Tū kaha ia, me kī, hei whawhai mō tōna whakaaro i runga i ngā take katoa, tino kaha ia ki roto i ngā āhuatanga katoa o te kāwanatanga, o te kaunihera rānei - pai ana tana mahi, pai ana tana kaha mō tōna iwi a Ngāti Toa.”
(“He's a very strong minded person in everything he does including his work. He's not afraid to stand up and give his opinion on all kinds of issues whether it’s with central or local government. He's great at what he does and he's a great pillar of strength for Ngāti Toa.”)
Sir Matiu acknowledges his mother's Te Arawa - Ngāti Whakaue side because, he said, it was her that shaped him. However, he also pays homage to father's side.
“E tino mihi ki a Ngāti Toa, i te mea, nā Ngāti Toa ahau i hōmai te wā kia tupu, kia tupu, kia puāwai.”
(“I thank Ngāti Toa because it was them who allowed me to grow and to blossom.”)
Mr Parai agrees with Sir Matiu and said that the honour also belongs to the Porirua community.
“Ko tēnei tohu e tika ana ki a ia, ēngari mō te iwi katoa, mō te iwi katoa o Ngāti Toa ki te rohe nei o Porirua, ki a mātou nei kāinga huri noa, ngā marae, he tino harikoa e mihi ana ki a ia.”
(“Although it's an honour that he has received, it belongs to all of us too within Ngāti Toa, the city of Porirua, all of our communities, our marae and we are very pleased and acknowledge him.”)
Matiu Te Rei (Rei) has served the Māori community in health, education, economic development, culture and Treaty of Waitangi Resolution.
He also led the legal challenge for the Foreshore and Seabed as the negotiator for the Aquaculture Settlement, and the chair of the Aquaculture Settlement, and being the foundation director and Te Purutanga Mauri of Te Wānanga o Raukawa.
Since 1986 he has been responsible for preparing and leading Ngāti Toa’s Treaty of Waitangi claim and for developing the post-settlement entity and its organisational structure. He has served as Chair of Te Ohu Kai Moana Trust and Director of Kura Ltd.
As the Executive Director of Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Matiu Rei led the establishment of a primary health service comprising four medical centres, a specialist nursing and health workers service, an addictions and primary mental health service, and a disability residential service. He has been principal advisor to the Rūnanga Council on the tribe’s business investments and operations and has led the Rūnanga’s promotion of tribal language, history and traditional customs.
Māori Development Minister acknowledges Sir Matiu
National recognition of Matiu Rei is long overdue, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell said.
“Matiu led the Waitangi Tribunal claim for Ngāti Toa and since 1989 he has been central in the growth of their post-settlement entity, Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira as their Executive Director. He is also a strong promoter of the tribe’s language, customs and culture.”