Te Arawa kapa haka stalwart Sally-Ann Roberts (Ngāti Hinemihi, Ngāti Pikiao, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāpuhi). Photo: SUPPLIED/22080703
The body of Te Arawa kapa haka stalwart Sally-Ann Roberts (Ngāti Hinemihi, Ngāti Pikiao, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāpuhi) was repatriated back to Aotearoa New Zealand yesterday.
Known by most as Hereana, she was a “flamboyant kapa haka exponent and tutor of Tūhourangi kapa haka” for more than three decades.
She had travelled to Rarotonga with the
Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wāhiao kapa haka for Te Maeva Nui cultural festival when she
sadly passed away last week.
It is understood she had collapsed backstage at the
National Auditorium last Wednesday evening prior to the group’s performance
scheduled for later in the evening.
The New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Tui
Dewes said: “We have been deeply saddened by the passing of Sally-Ann Hereana
Roberts. By all accounts, she was an exceptional woman, full of aroha and mana.”
“The High Commission has been working closely with her
whānau on her repatriation to Aotearoa New Zealand for her tangi in Rotorua.
Our thoughts are with her loved ones at this incredibly difficult time. Tihei
mauri mate,” said Dewes.
The Secretary of Tauranga Vananga (Ministry of
Culture) Anthony Turua was saddened at her passing.
Turua said he had spoken to Roberts backstage before
“We, Tauranga Vananga and our Minister George Angene
and Government would like to express our deep condolences to Hereana and her
family and to the Tūhourangi-Ngāti Wāhiao kapa haka who participated in our Te
Maeva Nui, Te Atua Te Aroa.” said Turua.