Higgins to bring Crown up to speed with te reo Māori

By Leah Te Whata

The first appointed female chair to the Māori Language Commission today received her formal welcome.

Professor Rawinia Higgins has been tasked with ensuring the Crown safeguards the future of Te Reo Māori.

A loss for Te Mātāwai and a gain for Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori.

Te Mātāwai Chairman, Te Waihoroi Shortland says, ”Her absence will be felt but I heard in her speech this morning that the major task ahead is uniting us all.”

The Māori Language Commission CEO, Ngahiwi Apanui says, “Te Taura Whiri has been around for thirty-one years, and this is the first time a female has been appointed to this position, but the main thing is she has the capability.  She's well-known for her skills in language revitalisation.”

Higgins was the deputy vice-chancellor at Victoria University and also worked on the review of the Māori Language Bill. 

She now has the task of bringing the Crown up to speed when it comes to te reo Māori.

Higgins says, “Te Taura Whiri are now focusing on how the Crown arm of the partnership can become effective so there is a lot of work ahead of us.”

Apanui says, “One of the biggest challenges for her will be to drive the government along.”

It's mana wahine all around, with Minister of Māori Development Nanaia Mahuta the new head of Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori and her deputy, Charisma Rangipunga.