Thirty-one-year-old Jeremy Tātere MacLeod from Ngāti Kahungunu is a finalist in this year's Ngā Tohu Reo Māori awards, a first time nominee for someone who wasn't brought up in te reo, but has worked tirelessly to revitalise the language.
Working hard to open up a second kōhanga reo in Hawke's Bay, his nomination has been a pleasant surprise.
Tātere says, “I am honoured and didn't think I had reached a level to be even considered for this award or be a finalist, so I am honoured.
Born in Australia, he came home to New Zealand when he was 17-years-old to live with his grandmother to begin learning more about his roots.
His mother Ruma MacLeod told Te Kāea, “When Jeremy told me of his decision to return to New Zealand to know his culture his people his language I was devastated but the passion that had been aroused within him was so strong, so very strong.”
He has become an active advocate for the language through Kura Reo, language symposiums and various other language strategies.
Tātere says, “I think of my father and my mother who is still here with us. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be where I am today, as well as the many supporters and mentors who believed in me.”
He is the Mātāwai representative for Te Tai Rāwhiti, the organisation to lead the revitalisation of the language.