Indigenous | Professor Pou Temara

Cultural authority Sir William Pou Temara knighted at Government House

He is a cultural authority on whaikōrero whakapapa and karakia, a Māori academic, a professor of  te reo, tikanga at Waikato University, and both a student and a tutor at Victoria University of Wellington as well as Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Today Sir William Te Rangiua "Pou" Temara accepted his knighthood despite challenging the monarchy system throughout his career

Raised by his grandparents in a Tūhoe environment where te reo was the first language, Temara went on to become a recognised authority in the Māori language, Māori customary practices and Māori performing arts.

He is the chair of Te Hui Ahurei, a legacy of whanaungatanga his father and his generation can be proud of,  because it's the oldest iwi festival, and every two years it brings descendants together to celebrate their Tūhoetanga.

He is a person who wears many hats - he is a member of the Waitangi Tribunal as well as chair of the Repatriation Advisory Panel at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and is on Kingi Tuheitia's 'Council of Twelve.

Colonisation effects

The internationally recognised professor of te reo, tikanga and philosophy has spent his entire career pointing out the injustices in society from colonisation and its effect on the Squamish nation in British Columbia.

This led him to believe the knighthood (Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit) bestowed on him in the New Year Honour's list was a joke or mistake.

But then he sought some advice from whānau, who challenged his viewpoint, saying not all knights have to follow the ''rules''.

"A people without language and a people without tikanga or customary practices is a people who should not be proud to be called people. I'm proud to be a part of that revitalisation." he said