by SUE SECONI
WANGANUI — The death of kaumatua Bill Murray is a loss to his whanau, the Wanganui community, government agencies — and NZ Catholic.
Ariki Hanare Mare Mare Uncle Bill Murray’s funeral Mass was celebrated by Fr John Roberts on May 4, 2014, in St Mary’s Church, in Wanganui. Before the service he had lain in state at Tini
Waitara Marae in Turakina just south of Wanganui. He was 85, and will also be missed by St Mary’s parish and by local government agencies for the advice he often gave.
Mr Murray was also a go-to person when NZ Catholic needed permission
for photos of events on Te Rau Oriwa Marae and when help was wanted for reporting on Maori occasions.
In his association with St Mary’s parish, Mr Murray would stipulate that visiting the parish be accorded a powhiri on Te Rau Oriwa Marae, alongside St Mary’s Church.
Two particularly memorable powhiri were for the remains of Bishop
Pompallier in 2002, and the relics of St Therese in 2006, both of which travelled throughout New Zealand.
Mr Murray, a father of four now adult children, belongs to the Ngati
Apa Wairiki tribe, which stretches from Levin, Bulls and Whangaehu, and he negotiated firmly for his marae inTreaty settlements.
Mr Murray was the Maori adviser to the Wanganui Hospital Board, explaining and guiding the powhiri for new medical staff and, whenever the board or executives had key meetings or gatherings out of town, he would travel with them as their elder.
He was on the Maori board for the Marton council as a consultant and
adviser to the Wanganui Prison Service.
His widow, Anne, said her husband became a Catholic when they married 68 years ago, “and all his involvements stemmed from his faith. His faith was the source of all.”
Mr and Mrs Murray established Marae Time, a drop-in centre, 25 years
ago. It is still responding to needs today.
by SUE SECONI