Esteemed Māori lawyer, author and academic Dr Moana Jackson has died on Thursday.
Dr Jackson's work on Māori and Indigenous rights has been an inspiration to many at home and abroad, using his knowledge and experience to help Māori and Pākehā understand the impacts of colonisation in Aotearoa.
His early advocacy began more than 30 years ago and centred on Māori and the criminal justice system.
He was the lead researcher and author of the groundbreaking 1988 report, Māori and the Criminal Justice System: He Whaipaanga Hou and helped set up Ngā Kaiwhakamarama i Ngā Ture (the Māori Legal Service).
Dr Jackson then went on to help draft the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and became recognised in Aotearoa and globally as the foremost expert in Treaty of Waitangi and constitutional issues.
In 2021 he was acknowledged by the National Iwi Chairs forum for his contributions as an advocate, facilitator and educator for Te Tiriti o Waitangi, human rights and social justice.
At the time of nominating Dr Jackson, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Chairman, Ngahiwi Tomoana described him as a quiet, and humble man who "had turned down offers of honours and public recognition of achievements".
He graduated in law and criminology at Victoria University in Wellington, and eventually went on to teach the law. In 2017, he received an honourary doctorate in law.
In 2016, he led a team that produced Matike Mai - a blueprint for constitutional transformation.
Dr Jackson also served as a judge on the International Tribunal of Indigenous Rights. Once in Hawaii in 1993 and again in Canada in 1995.
Jacinda Ardern on Thursday afternoon acknowledged his passing, and said his work had inspired a generation of future leaders.
"It is with such great sadness that we’ve learned of the passing of Moana Jackson," the Prime Minister said.
"Moana Jackson was well known domestically and internationally for expertise in indigenous issues. Was I’m told incredibly generous with his time and the sharing of his knowledge, his storytelling, his gentle approach and will have left a mark on an entire generation, and beyond."
Marama Davidson, Greens co-leader is one of many on social media paying tribute to Dr Jackson.
“Utter grief, such a loss. Can't begin to have the right kupu yet - Moe mai ra Moana."
In a message shared by whānau on Thursday morning, Dr Jackson (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Porou) will remain at his home in Bay of Plenty's Te Waimana for Thursday night.
He will then return home to Matahiwi Marae, in Heretaunga/Hastings.