June 10, 2016
Taranaki honours reo champion
Language advocates in Taranaki are celebrating the contribution made to the cause by a determined kaumatua.
Huirangi Waikerepuru was given a lifetime achievement award this week during a language conference marking the 30th birthday of Te Reo o Taranaki, of which he is the last surviving founder.
Ruakere Hond says from that initiative flowed the radio station Korimako, the Maori studies unit at the regional polytechnic, and a number of kohanga reo and kura kaupapa which are still going today.
He says Mr Waikerepuru has always supported new learners, including pushing them to take up leadership roles on their marae.
He also instilled in people a sense that they could take control of their own destinies, instead of waiting for someone else to act.
"If we see a need, if we see a gap, if we see something that needs to happen in our communities, rather than wait for that to happen, just do it", says Mr Hond.
Ruakere Hond say Huirangi Waikerepuru champions language as a key to identity.
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