"John has dedicated so much of his life to the revival of our performing arts and te reo Māori, particularly in the small Taranaki community of Patea" said Mrs Turia. "He grew up in Whanganui, where his Mum still lives - and as is the way amongst smaller communities, we saw each other often. We will miss him greatly.
"In the 80s John came home from the navy and got a job at the Patea Freezing Works. Two years later the works closed, and John found himself out of work along with many of his whānau.
"He became a member of the Patea Māori Club; Poi E took over the world, and the rest is history! Poe E was an amazing enterprise, bringing together young and old, hip-hop and kapa haka; break-dancing and the poi. But it also inspired the community to come together, as whānau, and to be proud of Patea, the people and the place".
"John eventually became Chair of the Patea Māori Club, as well as taking up various leadership roles in the Aotea Māori Performing Arts Committee".
"John gave so willingly of his knowledge to forums such as the Waitangi Tribunal, as he gave insights into the traditional history of Ngāti Ruanui; and provided leadership in his trusteeship of Okahu Inuawai for Ngā Hapū o Ngaruahine Inc".
"His support for initiatives such as ‘Ko te reo te mauri' and ‘Taranaki Tū Mai Festival' has helped to keep our language and culture at the forefront of our identity.
"As whanau travel to Aotearoa Marae to pay their last respects to him, I know that there will be many tears at the loss of such a lovely man; gone too soon"."Moe mai e hoa, hoki atu ki tua o te ārai, hoki atu ki ā Hinenuitepo, ki te poho o te whenua. Moe mai, moe mai, moe mai."