February 06, 2014
Lifetime award for kohanga icon
Maori Television’s attack last year on long serving Kohanga Reo trustee Dame Iritangi Tawhiwhirangi hasn’t deterred TVNZ’s Marae programme from honouring the Ngati Porou kuia with a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of its Nga Toa Whakaihuwaka Waitangi Day Special.
Judge Parekawhia McLean, the chief executive of Waikato-Tainui, says Dame Iritana is both an inspiration and a firebrand.
That combination helped her as she led the Kohanga Reo movement from the 1980s to become a model for early childhood total immersion education around the world.
Fellow judge Sir Toby Curtis says due to her efforts many younger Maori are speaking te reo Maori.
The Education Ministry is considering an Ernst and Young report into spending controls at the Kohanga Reo National Trust, which was sparked by a leak to Maori Television of credit card bills from the trust’s commercial subsidiary.
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