The first master’s degree of te reo Māori has been awarded at a graduation ceremony at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
Since the disestablishment of the Māori language elite academy, Te Panekiretanga, students have turned to the Te Reo Kairangi programme, so they can reach the pinnacle of the Māori language.
When one academy is put to sleep, it’s the beginning of another.
This programme has been taught by former Panekiretanga kaiako Pania Papa, Te Heketū Blake and Tā Tīmoti Karetu. Papa says the tauira are people who need extra coaching and support before going back into their communities to uplift the reo.
“The development of a love for the valued language is one of the qualities that has emerged in this inaugural cohort of Te Reo Kairangi graduates,” Papa says. “There are many people who allow their language to flow, but few, as far as we can tell, actively work to improve it. To guarantee the accuracy of the language, Tīmoti now has a larger army,” she says.
Introducing some of the first graduates of the two-year master’s degree:
- Donovan Farnham (Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe) says, “It’s a breath of fresh air and a delight to have finished, even though I’ve been learning the language for a very long time. However, a part of me will feel lonely because, over the past two years I’ve been fortunate enough to sit with Tīmoti, Pania, and Te Heketū again to learn the language.”
- Rauangi Ohia (Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Maniapoto) says, “I will return to my people of Tauranga Moana and if I have anything, lessons that I may have, I will pass it on to the next generation for the benefit of the people.”
- Tumamao Harawira (Ngāpuhi) says, “Learning the language is never-ending, so there may be ways for me to take this knowledge, this education, back to the North. To those who may be thinking of jumping on this boat, be strong, be courageous and be patient. It’s a big job.”
Sir Tīmoti Karetu told the graduates at the ceremony: “You should always allow yourself to be corrected by someone more advanced than you. Leave pride and know-all attitude aside and humbly join in the learning.”