18 November 2002

A Tangi for Lou

OldEric says :-) I went to Lou Brookes' Tangi (funeral) this morning. Lou was a year younger than I. Lou had cancer and, in his last stages asked to be moved back from Auckland to Huntly where he was born.
Lou was a Maori and in his younger days was a salesman for the firm I worked for at that time. Everyone liked Lou and liked his fast patter. In later years Lou worked the markets up in Auckland and everyone knew him, once met, forgotten never!
Lou's Tangi was held at Te Ohaki Marae and the Tangi follows a similar format to the more familiar Church funeral service. The Tangi differs subtly in feel to a Church funeral. A sorry sadness pervades, that the person has left his relatives and friends behind and softly in the background keening will be heard from one or more of the older ladies. The Marae service is relatively short but the graveside service is much longer than a Church service. The hymns are sung as in Church, but no organ music is needed here. The Maori have fine tuneful voices.
At the graveside, speakers will talk to the person in a conversational tone as his body rests in the grave. Some may sing a verse or two of a favourite remembered song. The immediate family standing around the grave will cuddle each other, adults and children and often will sadly weep. It is very moving. Truly felt emotions are not at all suppressed. An orator or orators will call out the persons' life and ask why he has left them.
I was glad to be able to say goodbye to Lou. I was glad I could drop a proffered flower on his coffin. I was glad I met his remembered family now grown up with children of their own. And, I was glad they came up and remembered me. Lou was a little more than an acquaintance Lou was a friend from long ago.

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