Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira

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Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira, DNZM

Ngāti Porou

Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira is known for her work in the revitalisation of te reo Māori. Trained as a teacher and art educator along with the luminaries Ralph Hōtere, Cliff Whiting, Freda Kawharu and others, Mataira established a te reo Māori class at Northland College, Kaikohe, the first of its kind in a state school. 

The momentum continued and in the late 1970s along with Ngoingoi Pēwhairangi and others she founded Te Ataarangi, a community-based programme for adult Māori language learners. From there she helped set up the first Kura Kaupapa Māori at Hoani Waititi Marae and co-authored Te Aho Matua, the guiding philosophy for Kura Kaupapa Māori. 

In 1987, Mataira was a founding member of Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission. Mataira was also a renowned author and as well as writing award-winning picture books, she published three novels all i roto i te reo Māori. 

A grassroots organiser, teacher and visionary leader Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira empowered and encouraged others to reconnect with and revitalise te reo Māori.

Watch this clip from Te Karere when Kāterina Mataira was acknowledged for her work in the revitalisation of te reo Māori with the International Linguapax Prize.

Find out more about Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira: 

Read about Dame Kāterina Mataira in Storylines.

See her obituary published in the NZ Herald.

Image: Screengrab from Te Karere courtesy of TVNZ.

Catalogue Reference TZP371945

Year 2009


Reporter: Rapaera Tawhai

Excerpt: 00:02:01

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