Mary Mereiwa Broughton.


By Pine Southon (Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington)

As Matariki approaches, Taramainui (the Captain) of Te Waka o Rangi starts his journey across the heavens. He captures the spirits of loved ones that have passed since last Matariki and keeps them safe with him on his waka.

When we see Matariki in the wakening sky, we give thanks for the year that has gone by. Then we call out loud the names of our loved ones who have passed to Pōhutukawa so Taramainuku can make them stars in the heavens to watch over us.

It may be difficult to call out the names of our loved ones, but this is how we grieve for them, and we recall cherished memories. We remember them, we give thanks for them, and we let them go; this is how they become stars.

So now I say out loud the name Mary Mereiwa Broughton, QSM.

Born 24 December 1938, passed 31 January 2016; of Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa and Ngāti Kahungunu descent. She was raised in Te Teko and Kawerau before training as a nurse and working at Whakatane Hospital.

In the 1970s and 1980s she worked at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW), co-establishing Te Herenga Waka Marae with her husband and Te Huirangi Waikerepuru. She became involved in union affairs in the Association of University Staff (AUS), now Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union (TEU). She was a passionate Māori language activist and unionist, and in 2010 was the first recipient of the TEU life member award. We also remember her contribution towards becoming a Tiriti-led union, a dream made reality.

Moe mai ra e kui