Creative New Zealand mourns the passing of Rore Hapipi (Rowley Habib)
4 Apr 2016
Taku manawa e kakapa nei, e kakapa ana ki ngā whetū ki te marama, ka tau nei ki te rua. Kātahi au, ka kite i te hē, kātahi au, ka kite i te mate. Ko taku tau kahurangi, ka riro kei Paerau. Ki te huihuinga o te Kahurangi ka oti atu koutou e. E te rangatira Rowley ko koe tera kua tiraha mai ra i roto i to waka whakarei. Hoea to waka i te hoe a te tini me te mano e tatari nei ki te pohiri i a koe. Ahakoa te whiu o te korero ki runga i a koe, e kore a muri e hokia. Na reira takoto mai, moe mai ra e te rangatira. He kanohi hōmiromiro, he ihumanea, he kaitiaki nō tōna pātaka iringa kōrero, kua kore. He toki tārai kōrero mō ngā toi o Aotearoa me ōna hītori, kua riro. Kāti rā, ‘He kokonga whare e kitea, he kokonga ngākau e kore e kitea’.
Creative New Zealand is saddened by the passing of playwright, poet and author Rore Hapipi (Rowley Habib) on Sunday 3 April 2016.
Of Māori-Lebanese descent, Matua Rowley (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) was one of the first writers to bring a genuinely Māori perspective to New Zealand stage and screen. His play Death of the Land is seen as a landmark in the development of Māori theatre. In 1979 Rowley became the first Māori to write an original drama specifically for television: The Gathering. He has published poems, short stories and articles in numerous national and international magazines and newspapers. Many of his short stories and poems have been read on radio and television.
Rowley has been recognised for his stand-out work over the years. In 1982 he won a Feltex Award for best television script for his land rights drama The Protestors, part of a trio of pioneering one-off plays for television. He was awarded the Katherine Mansfield Fellowship in 1984. In 2006 his poetry anthology The Raw Men, spanning 50 years of work, was published by O-a-Tia Publishers. In 2013 we were privileged to award him a Ngā Tohu a Tā Kingi Ihaka Te Waka Toi Award in recognition of his lifetime of service to Māori arts.
Amazing mahi and achievements aside, Rowley was a lovely man, and will be sorely missed. We are thinking of his whānau and loved ones at this time.