July 06, 2015
Educator a scrapper for te reo
A leading Maori educator is being remembered as a scrapper who has influenced generations of teachers.
Te Iria Whiu died on Saturday at Tauarau Marae in Ruatoki just after receiving a life membership award from the New Zealand Educational Institution Te Riu Roa, of which she was the first Maori president in 1985.
Kura a iwi advocate Pem Bird says he first met Ms Whiu in the 1980s when she and principal Hera Johns were fighting to establish bilingual education at what is now Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Bernard Fergusson in Ngaruawhahia.
" She was a real Tumatauenga that one, Ms Iria. Who had nothing but fire in the belly back in the day. We needed scrappers and she was the ultimate scrapper. But her influence extended across society really coming through around the latest generation, under her guidance" says Pem Bird.
Te Iria Whiu is at Hairini Marae in Tauranga.
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