New Zealand Maori Queen dies

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The New Zealand Māori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu died on Tuesday at 5.32 p.m. (NZST) following a long illness. She was 75 years old.

The Māori Queen holds no constitutional function in New Zealand, but Dame Te Atairangikaahu was an avid supporter of cultural and sporting events; the 40th anniversary of her coronation was celebrated in May.

She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Waikato University in 1973, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Victoria University in 1999. She was one of the first inductees of the Order of New Zealand when it was established in 1987.

In December 2005, she started dialysis treatment when her kidneys began to fail. Dame Te Ata received dialysis treatment three times a week and had been in hospital several times in the past year.

On 11 July 2006, Te Atairangi Kaahu suffered a possible heart attack and was admitted to intensive care in Waikato Hospital, Hamilton. She was discharged from hospital later in the month, in time to celebrate her 75th birthday. She died at her home in Ngaruawahia.