Howard Morrison – To Sir with Love

It feels like an old friend has gone. Sir Howard Morrison has passed away at the age of 74. He has been one of those great stalwart kauris of New Zealand – up there with Edmund Hillary, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Colin Meads – fully embodying Aotearoa to Kiwis home and abroad. His version of Whakaaria Mai is one of New Zealand’s taonga.

It wasn’t long since this great entertainer was on our tv screens – Howard recently appeared on September 4th on the Good Morning show in a cool Birthday special and on July 3oth talked about the importance of Te Reo Maori in his life.

Many tributes and eulogies will come today and in the days to come. Radio New Zealand has summed up his long career and many achievements, thus:

From his days with the Howard Morrison Quartet in the 1960s, Sir Howard had a varied career as entertainer, cultural ambassador, and social advocate …Sir Howard was born in Rotorua in 1935, a member of Ngati Whakaue of Te Arawa. He began putting together vocal groups to perform at rugby club socials in Rotorua in the mid-1950s and was a member of the successful Aotearoa Concert Party that toured Australia.On his return to New Zealand, he formed a group with his brother and cousin, and guitarist Gerry Merito, that became the Howard Morrison Quartet … In his later years, he established the Sir Howard Morrison Education Foundation of Te Arawa Youth to support those embarking on university study and was a trustee of the Books In Homes organisation. Waikato University gave him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his service to the Maori community.

Hei maumaharatanga ki te tino hoa
In fond remembrance

4 thoughts on “Howard Morrison – To Sir with Love

  1. Mo-mo 24 September 2009 / 12:11 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. The man was a legend.

    I just threatened to belt out some Whakaaria mai in the office but my workmates voted no on that one (maybe later) but it really does seem the most fitting tribute.

    Who can reflect on Sinatra’s life without hearing a soundtrack of “My way”? So “Whakaaria mai” is to Sir Howard.

    And I bet it’ll be one heck of a tangi…

    • mj 25 September 2009 / 4:55 pm

      Mo-mo, I’d join in with you with a rousing rendition of “Whakaaria mai” for Sir Howard.

  2. zackids 24 September 2009 / 1:22 pm

    I had the honour of performing with him when I was in Year 8. He was doing a concert at QEII and it was so cool to get to meet him and sing alongside him in our school choir. He’s a legend!

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