Tribute to WCGIP Founder, Monte Ohia - Extraodinary Tribal Passion

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Finally, he challenged me to love in a practical way. Monte was a romantic. A lover of life’s beauty. He loved his wife Linda and his family passionately. I have never met an Indigenous man who could talk so proudly of his children’s achievements. My wife looked up to him as if he was her father! My children showed him the deepest respect by calling him Uncle. He raised the barrier in showing true affection toward your spouse and family.  He told me a long time ago that people yearn for that personal touch. He challenged me to lift my game in the way I expressed my love towards my wife and family and my people. I still got a long way to go to live up to that challenge.


He also loved God with an awesome passion. It was God’s love for him that gave him a passion to learn about history, culture, education, politics, science, theology, sociology, biology and a range of other topics that he was well versed in. His passions for learning made us want to sit at his feet and drink from his vast knowledge of God and God’s extraordinary world. His love of his beloved Maori traditions, culture, history and heritage was demonstrated time and again by his extraordinary teaching methods that enabled us to know more about ourselves and our relationship to God as tribal people. Monte also knew the depth of our pain and anger and frustration brought about by the tide of history. And he utilized his own cultural tools, like music, dance, drama and art to remind us again and again how much God loved us as Indigenous people in spite of that terrible history.


Monte was one of the Maori people’s great storytellers.  He could always capture any audience of all ages through story. He educated us through stories. He showed his love for us through story. In a very unique way he became a part of my family’s story and a vital part of our tribal story. In the end he became one of our great stories. We love to tell stories of the many incidents, sayings, activities and events that made him a legend among us. And we delighted ourselves in telling others about the exploits and incidents that made him become an integral part of our life story.


 His love for people was practical and passionate. He demonstrated God’s love to the prostitute as well as the politician. To the prisoner as well as the prison officer. To the oppressed as well as the oppressor. He challenged me to lift my game in how I demonstrated love to my wife and family, to God and to my neighbour. To the oppressed and as well as the oppressor. He challenged me to love my enemy as well as my friends. He challenged me to tell the story of God’s love to all humanity. To him there was no distinction among humans. We all needed God’s love.


To me, Monte was a simple tribal man with a deep and incredible tribal passion to love God, love our fellow man and love God’s creation.


What is his legacy? What is his challenge? How will I remember him?

To me, he was an ordinary tribal man with an extraordinary tribal faith.

To me, he was a humble tribal man possessed with big visions and an extraordinary tribal hope for all Indigenous people.

To me he was a simple tribal man who possessed an extraordinary tribal passion to love God, his neighbour and God’s creation.


Another great apostle of the faith said some two thousand years ago;


“And now three things remain. Faith hope and love. The greatest of these is love.”


This is how I will remember this tribal warrior, Monte. Through his tribal faith, his tribal hope and his tribal love.


I will miss him. I will remember him. I will try to lift my game. I will try and follow his exemplary life.




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