Ko te whakaiti te whare o te whakaaro nui.
Ka taka te rau o te aroha me te matihere ki a Mina Mitai, te tauira o te humarie me te
whakaiti, ka momotu ki tawhiti, ki paerau I ngā marama ka huri.
Mina, 84, was a fit, healthy and loving father and koro. He was brought up in Matatā where the ocean was his swimming pool and where his love for boats and yachts grew. Without the money to buy a catamaran, he built two – “if we didn’t have it, we built it” was his motto – and he would sail to Motiti and Plate Islands.
As a young boy, Mina played hockey in Matata and went on to establish the Rotorua Eagles and Te Manu Kowhai hockey clubs. He encouraged all his moko to play hockey instead of rugby and would regularly pile them into the van and drive them to practice and games every week. His connection with hockey can still be seen through his grandson, Leo Mitai-Wells, who is a member of the Black Sticks national squad.
Mina had eight children with his wife Margaret Kingi from Okere, two whangai, and was a grandfather to 34 and great-grandfather to 31. He had a love for carving and he and his son Richard Te Hau Mitai-Ngatai travelled around the motu helping carve many wharenui and marae including Hongoeka in Porirua and the original buildings at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata in Rotorua.
Most people would know Mina from playing his saxophone at the Kuirau markets and at the many tangihana around Aotearoa. The humble hero said it was his way of contributing to the families and the marae instead of speaking on the paepae.
Nā te whānau Mitai.