Tauranga Moana laid to rest a young leader taken well before his time.

Russell Wiparata Ngatoko had a dynamic range of skills; he was a TV presenter, a teacher, a kapa haka exponent. Thanks to this diverse range of skills he was close to a diverse range of people.     

His passing comes as a shock to many after a quick but ferocious battle with cancer. 

Despite being only 39, he was being groomed to lead his iwi and those who knew him best say that he was sharp, kind and funny.

He is survived by his mother, wife, four kids and a whole iwi in mourning. 

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