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Hana O’Regan Accepts Prestigious Fellowship

For immediate release – 31/8/11

Hana O’Regan Accepts Prestigious Fellowship

CPIT strengthened its alliance to the new wave of energy in the field of language revitalisation when the institute’s Dean of Te Puna Wanaka and Kaiarahi Hana O’Regan accepted a fellowship to the International Centre for Language Revitalisation (ICLR) at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) recently.

Hana’s outstanding work towards revitalisation of Ngai Tahu dialect through education and other channels earned her the prestigious invitation.

"Hana has a track record sustained over many years, in fighting relentlessly and tirelessly in the promotion and revitalisation of the Maori language,” AUT’s Te Ihorei o Te Ipukarea, Professor in Māori Innovation & Development, Dr Tania Ka'ai said. “Her enthusiasm, high energy, experience, ability to be innovative and think outside the square and willingness to collaborate and contribute wherever she can, were the main considerations in choosing her as a Fellow for the ICLR.”

Hana has a long association with AUT’s Te Ipukarea - The National Maori Language Institute, which recently expanded to include the ICLR following international interest in the centre’s research and production of digital resources in the revitalisation of the Māori language. Academics from institutes such as the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, New York University and the Center for World Languages and National Heritage Language Resource Center at UCLA in California have also been offered fellowships to assist in global efforts to share resources and harness technology to help save endangered languages.

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With some 80% of the worlds’ languages envisaged to become extinct within 90 years at the present rate of language loss, there is no time to be narrow in approach, isolated in thinking, or selfish with ideas, Hana said. “If we look at AUT’s track record, their innovative projects around language revitalisation and the use of digital platforms to enhance language acquisition opportunities have stimulated a new wave of much needed energy in the field of language revitalisation, planning and maintenance. Although these initiatives have already started to bear fruit in New Zealand, their potential for global reach is exciting and much interest has already been sparked. This is a global issue that we are very much a part of. ”

CPIT’s Te Puna Wanaka (TPW) repositioned its programme delivery in 2006 through the Whanau Transformation through Education vision and the commitment to supporting Ngai Tahu’s tribal language strategy, Kotahi Mano Kaika, Kotahi Mano Wawata. TPW now offers a Bachelor of Language Maori within a comprehensive suite of Pasifika and Maori language programmes.

Hana is known for embracing challenges from the national to the personal level. “I have continued throughout my professional career to always invest time and heart in to projects and research on language revitalisation, especially those concerned with Maori language and that position of my own tribal language, the Kai Tahu of Te Waipounamu. As a mother who is also trying to raise my young children in te reo here in Christchurch where Maori language is very much a minority language, I face daily struggles to maintain quality language engagement for me and my children, and as such am able to reflect regularly on the issues and potential strategies that can be employed to support language regeneration and maintenance in this type of environment.”

The biggest contribution she will make to the new center, she said, is her “passion and commitment to languages, especially indigenous language that are currently or potentially threatened.

“I believe fervently that access to and participation in one’s heritage language and its maintenance is key to the development of a positive cultural identity for individuals and communities alike and can be a key influencer in educational attainment and positive social engagement.”

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