Dr Te Taka Keegan
Prime Minister’s supreme award recipient 2017
Also Award for sustained excellence in tertiary teaching – Kaupapa Māori category
Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science, The University of Waikato
“I have been able to transform the landscape beyond my classrooms for the betterment of both te reo Māori and computer science.”
Te Taka is a modern day tohunga (expert) in teaching, research, innovation, and computer science. His philosophy is grounded in his tribal ancestral knowledge, ‘Kia hiki te wairua, kia hihiko te kaupapa, kia hora te aroha’, ‘Lift the spirits, incite the passion, and share the love’.
Students attest to his excellence; ‘Te Taka is the most engaging and effective lecturer … uses humour, compassion and passion to open people’s curiosities'. He incentivises student participation by playing music, yoyo tricks, and running competitions for chocolate peanut slabs. He marks papers within 24 hours, is a reflective practitioner who records and critiques his lectures; and is highly responsive to evaluations.
Te Taka has trailblazed the revitalisation of the Māori language. He translated the university's Computer Science paper and taught it in Māori. He built the Ministry of Education’s bilingual website for schools.
With Microsoft Te Taka developed a Māori keyboard, and led a project which enabled Māori versions of Windows and Office. Te Taka is a highly esteemed Visiting Researcher at Google. All his initiatives provide direct benefits to students and others studying the Māori language, culture and history.