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New Maori language commissioners welcomed

26 September 2003 Media Statement

New Maori language commissioners welcomed

Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia is thrilled at the new additions to the Maori Language Commission.

Mr Horomia believes Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Wayne Ngata, Hana O'Regan and Ruakere Hond will bring fresh ideas to the Commission, which will once again be chaired by Dr Patu Hohepa.

"All of the new commissioners have shown a keen interest in developing te reo Maori in their respective fields and their collective skills are welcomed," said Parekura Horomia.

On 14 September 1972, a Mâori language petition (containing 30,000 signatures) was presented to Parliament, asking for Te Reo Maori to be taught in schools.

Parekura Horomia says te reo Maori has come along way since then and it is great to have commissioners of this calibre who have battled away over the years to ensure the survival of the language.

"Their work has built on the base that has been created to secure the future of te reo Maori," he said.

Profiles

Dr. Patu Hohepa (Te Mâhurehure, Ngâti Korokoro, Ngâ Puhi and Te Âti Awa) is a former professor of Mâori Studies at the University of Auckland, an author of books on the Mâori language, and translator and media advisor on Mâori language issues. He has been involved in supporting all aspects of the work of Te Taura Whiri. Dr Hohepa is also a member of Te Waka Toi, the Mâori Arts Board of Creative New Zealand and a company director of Tai Tokerau Forests Ltd.

Ruakere Hond (Taranaki, Ngâti Ruanui and Te Âti Awa) is an experienced teacher, researcher, and lecturer of the Mâori language. Through numerous roles he is an experienced manager, having been the acting Chief Executive of Te Whare Wânanga o Awanuiârangi, a programme manager with Taranaki Polytechnic, and with Te Ihi Tû Trust (a Mâori rehabilitation centre). Mr Hond has also been the chair of local Mâori language trusts and chair of the Pûniho Pâ Trustees in Taranaki.

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Wayne Ngata (Ngâti Porou, Ngâti Ira and Te Âitanga a Hauiti) has taught the Mâori language in schools and tertiary education institutions. He is experienced in writing, researching and translating the Mâori language. He has been a project facilitator for the Ministry of Education and has been involved in writing Unit Standards for the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). From 1999-2003 Mr Ngata was a member of Te Kura Tâkai Puni, the Treaty Claims Coordinating Committee, East Coast Inquiry District. He has been actively involved in a range of iwi initiatives concerning Mâori language education.

Hana O’Regan (Kâi Tahu) has been involved in planning Mâori language programmes, as well as Mâori language teaching and lecturing. From 1991-1992 she was a member of Te Reo Mâori Broadcasting advisory group for NZQA. She also served as a board member of the Mâ Te Reo Community Mâori Language Fund until recently, and is the manager of Te Waka Reo, Ngâi Tahu Development Corporation.

Iritana Tâwhiwhirangi (Ngâti Porou, Ngâti Kahungunu and Ngâ Puhi) is well known for her commitment to Te Kôhanga Reo, as the former Chief Executive of the National Kôhanga Reo Trust. She has extensive experience on many different community boards and specialised education committees. Ms Tâwhiwhirangi has been a leading figure in the revitalisation of the Mâori language in the early childhood sector.

"I also take this opportunity to thank Quinton Hita and Waireti Tait-Rolleston for the hard work that they've contributed to the commission work during their terms and I wish them well for the future," said Parekura Horomia.

ENDS

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