January 14, 2022
Dr Arapera Royal Tangaere -advocate of early childhood Māori education
An advocate of Māori education and early childhood, Dr Arapera Royal Tangaere (Te Arawa, Ngāti Raukawa, Kai Tahu) the National Advisor of Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust has been awarded the New Year’s 2022 Companion of the Order.
Dr Tangaere says is truly humbled. “The honour is not for me as an individual but it showcases the work of the Kōhanga Reo. Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi engari he toa takitini.”
She has overseen the Trust’s curriculum and teaching qualifications of staff. The Trust credits Dr Tangaere as a key contributor to the Te Kōhanga Reo curriculum, a model which has been adopted by some South Pacific nations and attracted international representatives to Aotearoa.
Te Kohanga Reo, says Dr Tangaere is the highest employer of Māori women. Not only do they employ the women but also provide training and qualifications with many choosing to go onto higher education.
“We are also encouraging each Kōhanga Reo to have at least one male on their staff. It is an important part of our whānau approach that our men are involved in the education of our tamariki.”
Part of her work is to work alongside the Ministry of Education, but she is adamant that Te Kōhanga Reo retain their unique kaupapa and commitment to Māori language and culture.
Dr Tangaere is passionate about Te Kōhanga Reo movement, but says they still work with few resources and less funding than mainstream early childhood centres, despite the findings of the 2012 Waitangi Tribunal on Te Kōhanga Reo claims.
The movement has grown to more than 463 across New Zealand and Australia.