"Sir Norman Perry. Church leader, businessman, adviser. Died aged 92.
Sir (David) Norman Perry served with the Maori Battalion, was a leader of the Presbyterian Church and was once asked to stand for the Eastern Maori parliamentary electorate.
Hardly surprising therefore that he was knighted in 1977 for services to the community and to the Maori people. Not surprising either that some people, hearing of his Maori connections, including those with Sir Apirana Ngata in tribal affairs from 1938 to 1950, have assumed that Sir Norman was himself a Maori.
He was a European, described in Who's Who as a company secretary and director. But he was approached in 1972 by a small but significant section of the Eastern Maori parliamentary electorate community to stand for the seat.
He declined saying he appreciated the gesture adding that "failing more obvious support for Maori candidates in Pakeha constituencies, Maori seats should be contested by the able Maori candidates who are available to stand for them".
Born in Gisborne, but living much of his life in Opotiki, Norman Perry was active in church and Maori affairs for most of his life. He was described by the Presbyterian Church this week as "an enthusiastic and humble man" who generated ideas and worked at enlisting people to make them happen.
He became chairman and director of several rural industries and Maori co-operatives in the Bay of Plenty region. He was associated with Sir Apirana Ngata in tribal work, becoming interested in the decentralisation of industry, an idea favoured by Ngata who encouraged dairy farming and the like.
Perry was involved with a garment manufacturing plant in Opotiki to employ and train Maori people.
During World War II Perry was with the Maori Battalion in Italy, the YMCA secretary attached to them until he was wounded in 1944.
Back home he was secretary for seven years of the Te Kaha Co-operative Dairy Company, which had Maori Battalion representation in its management and directors and which, in 1956, produced an attractive calendar for suppliers including fishing and planting times related to the phases of the moon.
The Presbyterian Church this week described him as one of the most significant and recognised lay leaders in its history. He was deeply involved in the Maori Synod, the New Life Movement from 1955-70, and was elected as only the third lay [not ordained] Moderator of the church's General Assembly in 1964.
Sir Norman Perry was predeceased by his wife Phyllis [Conway], whom he married in 1939, and is survived by family including two sons and three daughters.
A service was held at Te Maungarongo Marae, Ohope, last Sunday followed by tangi and karakia at Tutawake Marae, Whitianga, East Opotiki, last Monday and interment in the Hapu Urupa. A service celebrating his life will be held in Auckland today at 1pm at St David's Presbyterian Church, Khyber Pass."
Sir Norman Perry Kt., MBE: A mighty totara has fallen.
Sir Norman Perry died 2 August 2006, having recently celebrated his 92nd birthday.
Sir Norman was one of the most significant and recognised lay leaders in the history of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand . He was deeply involved in the Maori Synod, the New Life Movement 1955-1970, elected third lay Moderator of the General Assembly in 1964, and was a driving force in Mahi Tahi, a trust profiled in the Church.
Norman’s life was given in service of God and people.
As a young man Norman Perry was appointed as secretary and assistant to Sir Apirana Ngata and was a member of the Tribal Work Party with Sir Apirana 1938 - 50. Sir Norman was the only non - Maori in the Maori Battalion in the Second World War. He served as a YMCA officer at the Batallion’s request. In the Italian campaign he was seriously wounded, returning to New Zealand in 1944. He has served in and worked with many Maori organisations. He lived much of his life in Opotiki where he started a garment manufacturing factory to employ and train Maori. He helped establish and continued to be heavily involved in Mahi Tahi, a trust working to reclaim Maori prisoners by linking them to their indigenous traditions, now offering tikanga Maori programmes in prisons.
Sir Norman’s involvement in the world church and world affairs was extensive. He was a member of the International Laity Committee of the World Council of Churches 1955 - 58, leader of an Ecumenical Church Vietnam Peace Mission, in association with Ministry of Foreign Affairs (supported by the Prime Minister and Secretary of Foreign Affairs), initiated peace talks between Buddhists and Christians in North Vietnam, South Vietnam 1965. He was member of a Maori delegation to China in 1984 and trustee of the Rewi Alley Shandan School for some years from 1984.
He served on local and government bodies, being chair of the East Coast Development Council 1970 - 80, a member from 1980 of the Ministerial Committee on Violence 1986 - 87 and a member of the Ro per Commission on Prison Reform. Sir Norman’s knighthood was awarded for services to the community and Maori people in 1977.
Personally Sir Norman was an enthusiastic and humble man. He generated ideas and worked at enlisting people to make them happen.
We give thanks to God for a most remarkable leader in the Presbyterian Church.
From Te Ao Hou, No 15, July 1956, p.23
"Former Maori Battalion men are-taking a prominent part in the running of the Te Kaha Dairy Co., Bay of Plenty. Hone Waititi, who held the rank of Major with the battalion, has recently been appointed chairman of directors. All the directors are Maori. Secretary of the dairy company is Norman Perry, who served in the battalion with the Y.M.C.A. Though a pakeha, Mr Perry was until recently District Maori Welfare Officer for the Rotorua-Bay of Plenty area. The first assistant buttermaker, Tiaki Parata, and the manager of the company's new general store, Tini Paora, are both ex-C Company men. This year the company has produced an attractively illustrated calendar for suppliers setting out fishing and planting times in relation to the phases of the moon."
From Online Cenotaph record
"Phyllis (nee Conway) married Norman Perry in 1939, she died in December 2003 aged 90 years.
Secretary and assistant to Apirana Ngata 1938-1950
Nominated a member of 28th NZ Maori Battalion 1941-44, served as the YMCA officer at the Battalion's request
Lay Moderator of the Presbyterian Church General Assembly in 1964.
Leader of Ecumenical Church Vietnam Peace Mission. In association with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (supported by the Prime Minister & Secretary of Foreign Affairs), initiated peace talks between Buddhists and Christians in North Vietnam, South Vietnam 1965
Member of the Roper Commission and prison reform initiatives
MBE awarded 1965. Knighted in 1977 for services to the community and Maori people, a photograph from the investiture published with the obituary (NZHerald, 2006)
A service was held at Te Maungarongo Marae, Ohope, followed by tangi and karakia at Tutawake Marae, Whitianga, East Opotiki, and interment in the hapu Urupa
Known as Norman or Norm Perry AWMM" - Source, Cenotaph Database