Life of service honoured
The Maori Academic Excellence Awards are held annually at Waikato University to acknowledge Maori scholars who have earned a PhD that year. During the ceremony the Maori queen Te Arikinui Te Atairangikahu also honours someone with the Te Amorangi award for lifetime achievement.
Late last year Rev Morehu (Buddy) Te Whare received the Te Amorangi award for 2005 in recognition for his community service.
Buddy was presbyter in the Methodist Church and served for a year as superintendent of the Waikato synod as well as president (in 1987). He also worked for the Department of Conservation for 10 years. He now serves as a kaumatua for Waikato Hospital and is on the ethics committee of the Waikato District Health Boards diabetes prevention strategy for Maori.
As a presbyter Buddy served in several parishes in Auckland before being stationed to Rohe Potae. There he worked with Te Taha Maori and conducted services throughout the rohe. He has carried out ceremonial duties for Te Arikinui on a number occasions.
Buddy personally suffers with diabetes. As a member of the ethics committee to the Te Wai o Rona diabetes prevention strategy his role is to inform researchers about the cultural issues they need to be aware of in working with Maori.
“This is the third year of the diabetes project. We have screened about 5000 people. The study examines how diet and exercise can be used to combat diabetes. So far men on the programme have lost an average of 4.5kg and women have lost 1.5kg. Much of the screening has been done through marae.”
In 1998 Buddy was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his community service.