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Ngāti Whātua warrior Joe Hawke keeping watch over the Tamaki Makaurau whānau in the Waitemata Harbour

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Auckland Councillors’ Pippa Coom, Christine Fletcher, Sharon Hawke, Councillors’ Desley Simpson and Paul Young with the Coast Guard Vessel Joseph Parata Hawke. Photo / Facebook

If there are any dangers lurking beneath the Waitemata Harbour, beware – Ngāti Whatua stalwart and fearless Māori rights activist Joseph Parata Hawke – well, the Auckland Coastguard vessel named after him – is there to help.

Last week, Auckland Coastguard blessed its latest addition to the fleet – Joe Hawke Rescue, named after the Ngāti Whātua leader who died three months ago.

Nephew Clay Hawke said the whānau were honoured by the gesture.

“Even though uncle’s passing is still only recent, we discussed this honour from the Coastguard as a whānau and thought it was a great thing to do and means Uncle Joe’s legacy continues on and off the water.

“Uncle was a great sea lover and used to sit at his home and look across the beautiful pristine Waitemata Harbour with pride.

“He even had a small boat, painted in his favourite team’s colours – City Newton [red and white] and off he would go fishing and diving in the Waitemata all the time. That slowed down later in life because of the mahi he was doing, but he loved the Waitemata.”

Joe Hawke during his valedictory speech in Parliament. Photo / NZME
Joe Hawke during his valedictory speech in Parliament. Photo / NZME

And like most fishermen, he had his special spots.

“He had a few spots alright, where he would hook a few snapper but never told us about them.”

Hawke said it was his arrest in the 1970s for illegal fishing in the Waitemata that made his uncle angry.

“When he got charged and had his fish taken off him for fishing in the Waitemata, that’s what drove his first claim to the Waitangi Tribunal.”

He said it was only fitting that Uncle Joe continued to watch over Tamaki Makaurau and all its people.

Auckland councillor Christine Fletcher was at the blessing, along with Joe Hawke’s daughter Sharon Hawke.

Coast Guard's Joseph Parata Hawke. Photo / Facebook
Coast Guard’s Joseph Parata Hawke. Photo / Facebook

Fletcher said: “Coastguard is top of my list for volunteers and saving lives in our coastal nation.

“Loved being present for blessing and naming of Joe Hawke Rescue with Sharon Hawke named for her wonderful late dad Joe Hawke.”

Coastguard partnered with Lotto to provide multiple rescue boats and equipment across NZ.

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