Dr Te Oti Rakena

Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching – Kaupapa Māori category

Also awarded ‘Excellence in supporting Pacific learners’ endorsement

Pūkenga Matua - School of Music, Waipapa Taumata Rau

Ahakoa i takea mai te mātauranga pūoro o Te Oti i Ūropi, kei te wetewete ia i ngā here o ērā āhuatanga tāmi i te ao pūoro o konei, ā, kei te tahuri kē ia ki te anga mātauranga o te kaupapa Māori hei whakapūmau i ngā hua nui e riro ai i ngā ākonga katoa.

Nā runga i tēnā, kua muia tana akomanga e te ākonga, ā, hei tā tētahi, “I haere au ki Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau ki te ako i te mahi waiata i te taha o Te Oti. I pīrangi ahau ki te tū hei kaiwaiata whakaari pūoro, ā, nāna au i ārahi kia puta ai ngā tini āhuatanga o tōku reo waiata.” He tangata mātau tēnei, e mārama ana ki a ia ngā hiahia o ia ākonga, ā, me pēhea hoki te āwhina i a rātou.

Ka pūmau a Te Oti ki ngā tikanga o te whanaungatanga, ki tua rā anō o te whare ako, ā, kei te mōhio ia he wāhi nui tonu tō te whānau i te ekenga o āna ākonga ki ngā taumata tiketike. Hei tā ngā mātua o tētahi o ngā ākonga nō Te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa, “Ko tā Tākuta Rakena… he whakatū i tētahi hapori, e āhei ai mātou ngā mātua, waihoki ko ia anō (hei pūkenga pūoro), ki te tū tira kia eke panuku ai ā mātou tamariki.”

He tangata auaha, he kaikōkiri hurihanga nui, he mōhio ki te whakaaro auaha ki tua rā anō o te pouaka. He tino kaiwhakaako, ko ia tonu te whakatinanatanga o āna mahi, o āna tikanga whakaako me te pūtake o āna mahi. He tino pūkenga, he rangatira, e tū ana hei tauira ki āna ākonga.

E te reo waitī, he pūmanawa ōu nōnanahi, he mana atua! 

Senior Lecturer - School of Music, The University of Auckland

Working in a discipline rooted in European pedagogies, Te Oti is decolonising the study of music by making a deliberate ontological shift to a kaupapa Māori framework that has transformational benefits for all learners.

This has seen them intentionally flock to his classroom, as one learner explains, “I went to the University of Auckland to study voice with Te Oti, I wanted to learn how to be an opera singer and he helped me find my voice in other ways.” He has an intuitive sense of what each learner needs and how to help them.

Te Oti’s commitment to whanaungatanga extends beyond the institution and recognises the important role whānau plays in the success of his learners. As the parents of one Pacific student commented, “Dr Rakena has…created an inclusive community where we as parents and he, as a professional, can join hands together for the success of our children.”

He is innovative, transformational and a creative thinker who thinks outside the box. An exemplary teacher who embodies what, how and why he teaches. The consummate professional who leads by example.

E te reo waitī, he pūmanawa ōu nō nanahi, he mana atua!