Te Ataarangi teacher recognised at the Māori Language Awards

By Harata Brown
  • North Island: East Coast

Māori language advocates across the country have celebrated the 10th Te Reo Māori awards. The event was hosted by Ngāti Kahungunu and Takitimu waka with the Māori language leadership award given to one of their own.

Mana Elizabeth Hunkin has dedicated her life to the Māori language and has been a part of Ngāti Kahungungu’s Māori language revival for over 20 years. Her work was recognised at the Māori Language Awards.

"When I saw the philosophy of Te Ataarangi I knew, this is an avenue to enable our people to learn and retain their Maori voice" says Elizabeth Hunkin.

Judges selected Ngā Tāonga a Ngā Tama Toa Trust from Gisborne as the supreme entry for their efforts to retain and acknowledge histories pertaining to 28th Māori Battalion C Company soldiers. 

According to Māori Battalion veteran Nolan Raihania, “This award honours the work of those who translated the histories for a book dedicated to C Company.”

“Most of the books are still back at home, some of which are gathering dust. Perhaps through this achievement we may be able to promote this to the world” says Walton Walker, the Deputy Chair of Ngā Taonga a Ngā Tama Toa Trust.

The Māori Language Awards feature 17 categories that recognise Māori language advocacy efforts in specific communities, broadcasting, education and government. The private sector award went to Law Firm Wackrow Williams and Davies Ltd.

Lawyer, Te Kani Williams says it’s a humbling experience, “This is the first time that our company has been nominated for these awards. It's awesome.”

Furthermore, Māori lawyer Alana Thomas hopes that the event will highlight the need for Māori language reform in New Zealand Courts.