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Te Reo Maori - Keynote Lecture

MEDIA RELEASE 14 July 2008

Te Reo Maori - Keynote Lecture

One of te reo Maori’s most persuasive and successful advocates will speak about the role of Maori language in his life at a Maori Language Week keynote lecture at Christchurch Art Gallery next week. Dr Te Huirangi Waikerepuru will also talk about his involvement in the successful bid to have te reo Maori recognised as taonga under the Treaty of Waitangi.

The lecture is at 6pm on Wednesday 23 July at Christchurch Art Gallery.

Born of Ngāti Ruanui and Tangahoe descent, Dr Waikerepuru’s name is now synonymous with critical consciousness and community pacifist activism - not just in his home province of Taranaki, but among Māori communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.

Starting his career in the building trade, Dr Waikerepuru moved through trade training and into adult education where he developed Maori language instruction programmes. He later worked with the New Zealand Maori Council to take a case to the Privy Council for recognition and protection of Maori language as a taonga under the Treaty of Waitangi. This success also led to the establishment of the Maori Language Commission; the Māori broadcasting funding agency Te Māngai Pāho; and ultimately Māori Television. Dr Waikerepuru is now a member of Maori Television’s council of elders. He has also played a strong role in the regeneration of Taranaki’s distinct regional dialect.

His achievements in tertiary education and Maori language communities resulted in an honorary doctorate from Waikato University in 1995. Now well into his seventies, Dr Waikerepuru’s eloquence as a traditional orator is sought internationally.

“A great orator, and a repository of Māori language and culture, Dr Waikerepuru is a visionary who recognises the contemporary issues facing whānau, hapū and iwi,” says Christchurch Art Gallery Director Jenny Harper.

“It is an honour for us to be able to host such an eminent public intellectual in Maori Language Week, and we look forward to sharing him with the people of Christchurch.”


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