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Welcome to Piopio, A Thriving Village Nestled Between The
World Famous Waitomo Caves and The Rugged Taranaki Coast


Farewell to our caring Koro - Raymond Kopereihana Coffin

My name is Shayna Le Gros. It is a true honour to call this man our Koro and on behalf of all his mokopuna, we would like to share our Koro’s life story, and gosh what a life it was!
Raymond Kopereihana Coffin, otherwise known as Muss, was born 3/3/1933 in Piopio. Son of the late Charles Coffin and Harata Rauputu and bossy brother to Hutana, Waka, Peter and Rangipare.
Koro lived his younger days attending the local school in Piopio and working the farm at their homestead, milking the cows and bailing hay from sunrise to sunset – even on Christmas Day! His hard working ethics and values followed him right to the end.
He ventured to Taumarunui in his later teenage years, returning to Piopio, then settling in Mangakino with our Nan Marie with five children in tow: Teri, Ngahina, Neil, Aron and Rachel.
Their childhood memories are rugby, rugby and rugby. Koro played for various King Country teams, debuting for the NZ Māori All Blacks in 1961-63. He hung his boots up in 1995, finishing up in the Golden Oldies Tour.
Koro was a jack of all trades: a green keeper, butcher, milk delivery driver, taxi driver, grocery delivery, local rubbish man and even worked at the telephone exchange.
Koro returned to Taumarunui as his kids got older, eventually returning to his papakainga Piopio. Along came 12 mokopuna and his headaches began.
The majority of our school holidays and Christmasses were spent here in Piopio with Koro and those adventures and memories will be forever cherished.
Koro gave us pet lambs to feed (named after our favourite Pokémon), not knowing they would be in our freezer the following year.
Koro made sure we always had unlimited amount of ice-cream, wafers and chocolate sauce and the Sky remote was always ours unless there was a game on. We built huts and forts outside at his house – even if it meant cutting half a tree down. No idea of ours was ever too big. On a regular basis, Koro could be seen with at least three grandchildren on the moped with him roaming the streets of Piopio ... no shoes and no helmet. At least five of his grandchildren were always on the tray of his truck as we had driving lessons on how not to drive, usually resulting in someone flying into the back of his cab or falling off the back of the tray.
Koro was always looking for an opportunity to play a trick on us and his cheeky grin and laugh said it all.
Sunday mornings were dedicated for the rubbish truck run around Piopio for our cans of coke and lollies, We also learnt to chop and stack wood from the time we could walk – sometimes without supervision if there was a rugby game on. Our parents also thoroughly enjoyed Koro’s random visits to our homes, waking our parents up at 6am on a Saturday morning in time to see us wake up to give us our treats from the bakery while he drunk his cup of tea and read the newspaper. Holidays to Waihi, Mokau and Kawhia, pipi picking, eating way too much kai, laughing and smiling until our hearts were content. But I bet you all our Koro’s favourite holiday was taking us to his version of a 5-star, water view resort which turned out to be a shack in the middle of little old Te Waitere with no reception and no TV. But we befriended the horse in the neighbour’s paddock, played games until dark and attended the regattas with Koro who sounded the start gun on the waka, then made us all swim to shore. (Some of us learnt to swim that day).
To contradict everybody’s telling offs and grumpiness, our Koro gave to the wider whānau and community. He hardly ever got angry with us but was always firm when he needed to be and if we were really playing up the threat of sending us to PD seemed to do the trick at pulling us back into line. He always kept us fed, filling up our freezers with meat. Always made sure we were warm, with loads of firewood and of course we can’t forget our yearly Chrisco hampers.
We had zero boundaries when it came to fun with Koro and how none of us ended up in hospital with a broken leg or worse is beyond us! But that was the beauty about having him as our Koro.
Koro took great pride in his mahi, a supervisor for the Corrections Department for over 20 years and a Māori warden for over 50 years. Working was all he had even known.
Over the last few days [at the tangi] we have heard many stories about his mahi with the Māori wardens and, though he was a grumpy old bugger, he was a very well respected man, and so it was only fitting he received his Queen’s Service Medal in 2018 for service to his community as a Māori warden. A true kaitiaki of his whenua. A man of mana who earnt all his achievements over his lifetime.
As he grew older, we knew he found it so hard to slow down as working and providing was all he knew, but we reminded him of everything he had done and now it was his time to rest and reflect on all he had achieved.
So now we are here, Koro, on your final journey where you will be laid to rest ne.
Moe mai ra.