The average life expectancy of Māori is between 72 - 76.

Rotorua's Ngāti Whakaue was rearing to honour their octogenarians and nonagenarians at their Koeke celebration dinner last night.

Pita Anaru an elder of Ngāti Whakaue said before the dinner that it will be a glitzy affair.

“We are wearing our number one dress uniform tonight to make sure our guests are going to be very proud of us and we, in turn, will be very proud of them so to speak.”

Their aim is to acknowledge and uplift the highly respected elderly.

Kingi Biddle adds it’s to successfully preserve the knowledge of our ancestors as well.

“Hei aha? Hei tohu i te aroha o Ngāti Whakaue ki a rātou, rātou ngā whakarururhautanga, rātou ngā whakamahanatanga o te whare, rātou ngā koeke.Rātou ngā ringa i mōhio rānei i ngā tūpuna i te wā o rātou.”

Matiu Hamuera says this is a great opportunity to network with those who have a greater understanding of the traditional ways of Ngāti Whakaue.

“Rangatira tēnei, nā te mea, ka tae tātou ki te whakawhiti kōrero mai i ngā tamariki ki ngā koeke. Ka tae ki te ako i ngā kaupapa hohonu, i ngā kaupapa o ngā tīpuna.”

Biddle also adds it’s an opportunity for the elders to share their wisdom with the next generation.

“Kei a rātou ngā kōrero, kei a rātou ngā akoranga, kei a rātou hoki rā te mātou, te mōhiotanga ki ngā tikanga me ngā kawa. Hei aha? Hei tuku mai ki a mātou.”

The main objective for the evening was to pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of the elderly who have inspired many and embodying the saying 'bringing light and peace.'