Richard Rangi Wallace

HPF kaumātua, Bishop Richard Rangi Wallace leaves lasting legacy

The legacy left to the Health Promotion Forum of NZ by the late Bishop of Te Waipounamu the Right Reverend Richard Rangi Wallace will endure for years to come.  

Bishop Richard, who passed away on January 6, played a pivotal role in matters pertaining to Te Komiti Māori, and Te Ao Māori in general, as well as providing guidance, support, and leadership in the respected and revered position of kaumātua.

Over the more than 18 years that he served as a board member for the Forum, Bishop Richard maintained and strengthened the collaborative relationship of HPF and Tangata whenua, especially at flagship events of HPF such as its annual symposium and meeting Maori-owned health and social service providers.

Bishop Richard presided over many transformational changes of HPF to ensure they were with minor disruptions and  were grounded on Te Tiriti o Waitangi, one of the two founding documents of HPF.

HPF’s Executive Director Sione Tu’itahi said Bishop Richard also provided cultural advice to the planning and organising of the World Conference on Health Promotion co-hosted by HPF and the International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE) in Rotorua, in 2019. (Bishop Richard pictured left at the conference opening ceremony).

The conference, said Sione, was a turning point in shaping the strategic spheres of operation of both HPF and IUHPE, to focus more on the wellbeing of the planet and humanity, especially from an Indigenous perspectives.

HPF Board Chair, Mark Simiona said Bishop Richard would be greatly missed.

‘He was always a pearl of wisdom and words to treasure,’ said Mark.

Board member Fay Selby Law said it was an honour and privilege to represent HPF at Bishop Richard’s tangi.

‘His tangi was a depiction of his life with the many facets represented - the Anglican clergy, the Armed Forces, the many boards he supported, the community and not least his whānau, hapū and iwi.’

Former Board member Sharon Kennedy-Muru said Richard was a wonderful Rangatira and his presence and wisdom would be very missed.

Sione also fondly remembered Mātua Richard’s humour and for being so down-to-earth. ‘He will be sadly missed, but his wise guidance and leadership will always be with us.’

Bishop Richard had an indelible impact and an unwavering dedication that inspired everyone. He was not merely a colleague to us here at HPF, but a beacon of compassion, a stalwart advocate for health, and a man of spiritual wisdom influenced by his hahi (Anglican faith). 

In an article in the Anglican Taonga Archbishop Don Tamihere’s kauhau at Bishop Richard’s funeral service at Wairewa Marae on Jan 11, perfectly summed up Bishop Richard as an example of a life lived in service, which saw him constantly choosing to serve his people: through the Armed Forces, through social and economic development, commitment to whānau and spiritual care.

“Here is Bishop Richard’s last sermon to you: Love one another as I have loved you.”

“So, don’t let your children and your mokopuna go a single day without hearing the words ‘I love you’. And if you’re married...don’t let them go a single day without hearing the words ‘I love you’.

“Don’t let your hapu or your whānau or your iwi know anything less than the power of your aroha. Love can do anything, it is the greatest power in the universe.”