Rawinia Higgins & Poia Rewi – Tuia Te Ako 2013
Presentation at Tuia Te Ako 2013 by Associate Professor Rawinia Higgins (Victoria University of Wellington) and Associate Professor Poia Rewi (University of Otago).
Rawinia and Poia spoke on the topic of: "Te kura roa: To value a language is to empower".
And the language laments, ‘Who will carry me to my fertile lands? Who will protect and nurture me, and ensure that I unfurl towards the sun, that I may be carried on the home breeze and be heard in the homes and across the land by those who are passionate, committed and staunch’ (Milroy 2012).
The opening quote was extracted from research conducted locally in New Zealand regarding the Māori language; an official language of New Zealand, a minority language of New Zealand, an Indigenous language of New Zealand. The research is bi-focused: one, on Kohanga Reo (pre-school Māori language and cultural immersion education centres), as a critical language initiative within New Zealand’s past who have been committed providers of Māori language maintenance and intergenerational transmission; two, Government Departments as policy shifters and the empowerment of the language within the workplace. This presentation reveals the role of two Universities in responding to iwi aspirations for the Māori language as bequeathed across multiple generations.