Waikato University graduate first to write MBA research in Māori

By Mānia Clarke

The third group of Master of Business Administration MBA graduates from the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development and the University of Waikato were honoured in a graduation ceremony today. In a first, Te Puna Moanaroa (Hauraki) was the first University of Waikato MBA graduate to write her research in Māori about the revitalisation of her tribal language.

Te Puna Moanaroa has been bestowed with the honour of delivering a valedictory speech, and she's overjoyed.

“I feel absolutely elated. I'm over the moon because my peers and I have completed all the required assignments and work in the last two years.”

Moanaroa is one of nine peers to graduate with distinction. The teacher at Te Wharekura o Manaia is passionate about the survival of the tribal language, which was the core of her research written in Māori.

“The focus of my research was Te Whare Kōrero Tāhūhū o Hauraki, to look for a strategy to save and protect the dialect throughout Hauraki.”

Pare Hauraki spokesperson Korohere Ngāpo says, “Our home language has not yet hit the standard or attained the highest level we expect, however, it's a start. This is a good sign because she is the first to write her thesis in Māori from this programme so all of us from Hauraki are proud of what she's achieved.”

The MBA programme started in 2011 through the College's Memorandum of Understanding with Waikato University. Te Puna's achievement is the result of two previous cohorts before her.

Waikato Endowed Colleges Trust Chair John Heremia says, “The important role for us is equipping our people to take care of the matters concerning their tribes.”

At the request of King Tuheitia, future cohorts will conduct research to restore the well-being of rivers and waters.