The NZAF remembers one if its greatest advocates and Life Members. A figurehead in the takatāpui and Pacific communities, a mentor to many and a mother to all. Mama Tere Strickland embodied a calm and gracious leadership and toiled tirelessly for her communities. The loss of her personality and presence will leave a void in our hearts, thoughts and community.
Over the course of her career, Mama Tere touched a great many lives through her passion and committment to at risk youth in both Maori and Pacific communities. Through her group Te Aronga Hou Inaianei (TAHI) she worked with gay and transgender people, sex workers, and other at risk youth, providing strength and support and empowering them to meet life's challenges with pride, dignity and aroha.
Mama Tere was made an NZAF Life Member in 2010 in honour of the work she has done with at risk groups.
Jordon Harris, NZAF Programme Manager Community Engagement and NZAF Kaiārahi was a close personal friend of Mama Tere and told GayNZ.com Daily News this is "a very sad time for takatāpui and our wider community. We are mourning the loss of yet another matriarch. She was an advocate for our communities, for HIV and AIDS, she was a leader who did a lot of work supporting young people in need."
Mama Tere Strickland was 49 years old.
The NZAF sends our thoughts and aroha to Mama Tere's friends and whānau who are gathering to mourn her passing at her South Auckland home.
E aku iti, e aku rahi, rau rangatira ma.
Nei ra te tangi apakura kia koe e te whaea Mama Tere
Moe mai ra e te rangatira, e te karanga maha.
Haere ki te kainga tuturu mo tatou te tangata
No reira haere, haere, haere atu ra.
Mama Tere Strickland