15 April 2008 Media Statement
Ministers acknowledge the life and work of Mahinarangi Tocker
Associate Ministers for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Judith Tizard and Mahara Okeroa, have expressed deep sorrow at the
death of Mahinarangi Tocker, one of New Zealand’s most talented and prolific singer/songwriters.
“I offer my sincerest condolences to her whanau who have lost a wonderful mother, daughter, sister and trusted friend.
“Mahinarangi was an inspirational musician and breathtaking singer. Her original compositions and soaring voice touched
hearts and minds, both at home and overseas. She worked hard to create original music true to herself and her heritage,”
said Judith Tizard.
Mahinarangi Toker’s talent as a singer/songwriter was recognised when in 1999 she was invited to open Parliament.
Mahinarangi wrote more than 600 songs, frequently drawing inspiration from her Māori, Hebrew and Celtic roots. The
government recognised her contribution to New Zealand music by awarding her the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New
Years Honours 2008.
“New Zealand is also very fortunate that Mahinarangi courageously shared her own experience of mental illness through
the Like Minds Like Mine advertising campaign. Her trust in the healing power of music offered hope and encouragement to
many,” said Judith Tizard.
Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Mahara Okeroa, acknowledged the musician’s professional achievements
and significant contribution to New Zealand culture.
“As we mourn Mahinarangi’s death, we celebrate a legacy of wonderful songs which openly express love, loss and heritage.
Many of her strong emotional lyrics are about identity. She took great pride in her diverse ancestry.
“Many of her songs have been recorded by other artists but she will be remembered for her own rich vocal delivery which
has given us so much pleasure over the years. She will be sadly missed,” said Mahara Okeroa.