The awarding of the EIT Tuakiri Medal of Distinction was a highlight of this year’s EIT Tairāwhiti graduation ceremony.
Tears of joy, karanga and waiata erupted into a moving haka as EIT chief executive Chris Collins announced Nanny Ra as the award’s first-ever winner.
The medal acknowledges the lifelong achievements of Henare Kohere Swann and Tuahine Joe Northover, two pivotal figures in the histories of EIT and what was Tairāwhiti Polytechnic. Recipients will have followed the same path as these two kaumätua and in the spirit of the proverb mate atu he tété kura, ara mai ra
he tété kura – as one chief passes, another lives on to lead.
“Someone who is selflessly working in the service of others,” said Mr Collins. “In this, the inaugural awarding of the Tuakiri medal, we believe we have found such a
Toihoukura’s Professor Derek Lardelli, who designed the medal, characterised Nanny Ra as someone who had dedicated her life to benefit all in the Māori community, te reo, the kóhanga movement and kapa haka.
Nanny Ra said she was humbled by the honour. She and her late husband, Toko Te Kani, attended the blessing to open the education institution as a community college in the 1970s.