"Madiba, how could I forget? On that fresh morning of 13th November 1995, when I got the opportunity to meet with you during your visit to Aotearoa ?
We were there, with our maori brothers led by Dame Te Atairangikahu and more than 3,000 people crowded into the small North Island town of Ngaruawahia.
On the Tūrangawaewae Marae, with Moise Gowecee from Kanaky, and Pä Ariki from Rarotonga, I recall your words to all Polynesians, saying : “Our countries have much in common. Both have known the pain of conquest, dispossession, and oppression. As a people who have known deprivation we do appreciate your efforts to redeem a past of dispossession and social dislocation that colonization has wrought on your community."
Later on that day, I had the opportunity to talk to you about our brothers who had been jailed in Tahiti after demonstrating against Jacques Chirac decision to resume the nuclear testing in Moruroa. This came as a shock to you for you did not know about the French nuclear testing in our country.
Madiba, your legacy knows no boundaries. Your humility in the face of adversity is a lesson that we all ought to grasp.
Yesterday, a double rainbow could be seen in the Brisbane sky. I could not but think about the rainbow nation dreamed by Desmond Tutu, and that you still embody.
I cannot speak of you in a past tense: you are forever present in so many hearts around the world that even the future is imprinted with your words, your acts, and your humanity.
I have no doubt that every single tear shed by all free spirits in this world today will form yet another rainbow for you to dance upon in your distinctly gracious manner.
Madiba täne, e ‘oto te ra’i e te mahana no ‘oe ia tupu ä teie anuanua o te here ta ‘oe i vaiho mai. Ia maita’i to tere."
Oscar Manutahi TEMARU