Te Rauotehuia Chapman-de Vos, known as Te Rau, passed away at the beginning of May after a short battle with cancer. In her 58 years, Te Rau made a significant contribution to her whanau, friends and wider community and her passing has been felt as a huge loss.
Te Rau had considerable experience in governance, with positions on a number of boards including Te Runanga o Ngāti Awa and as the long-serving Director of Māori Investments Limited. However, it was the death of her father in 2015 that motivated her nomination to the Hospice EBOP Board. During the final stage of his illness, Hospice EBOP provided assistance and support to Te Rau’s whanau, striking a chord with their philosophy of care.
“After her father passed away, Te Rau believed she had an obligation to pay back Hospice EBOP for their unwavering support during her whanau’s time of need,” says Kees de Vos, Te Rau’s husband. “She knew her career in governance meant she had the necessary skills to add value to the Hospice Board.”
Te Rau was also passionate about acting as a liaison between Hospice EBOP and the wider Māori community, and knew the services offered by Hospice aligned with the Māori kaupapa of caring for whanau in their home environment.
Current Hospice EBOP Board Chair Jude Wilson admired the unique perspective Te Rau brought to the organisation, saying “Te Rau’s insight into how Hospice might best serve all of the community, but particularly Māori, was invaluable. She will be greatly missed by us all, both personally and for the many ways she contributed to the governance of Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty.”
Te Rau also endeared herself to others with her friendly, caring and outgoing nature. Over 2000 people from all walks of life attended the first day of her tangi, where the Ngati Awa flag that is usually reserved for prominent Māori elders, was flying.
“Te Rau meant a great deal to many people, and obviously touched the heart of our community,” says de Vos. “Her passing is a big loss for our whanau, especially our three children and four grandchildren.”
The Hospice EBOP Board members and staff are incredibly saddened by the loss of Te Rau, and her remarkable and knowledgeable contribution to the Hospice EBOP Board will be remembered.