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EIT is Mourning the Loss of Two Champions of Te Reo Māori

May 21, 2015

Materoa Haenga holding her Supreme Language Teacher at Tertiary Level Trophy

Te Ūranga Waka lecturer John Harmer died on Christmas Day just weeks after EIT had conferred his Honorary Bachelor of Arts (Māori).

Of Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Arawa descent, John taught Māori language and customs at certificate level for more than 20 years at EIT.

His honorary degree, conferred at Te Ūranga Waka’s end-of-year marae graduation, was only the second awarded by EIT, marking the high regard in which he was held.

Losing former senior lecturer and kuia of Te Ūranga Waka and Te Whatukura Materoa Haenga in March was a further blow. Born in Gisborne and affiliated to Ngāti Porou, Materoa spent most of her life in Hawke’s Bay.

She taught te reo at EIT for 20 years and was the coordinator and primary lecturer for the Bachelor of Arts Honours (Māori) programme. Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated honoured her contribution as a teacher of te reo in the iwi’s inaugural language awards in 2013.

Materoa was in the first intake of students for the Institute of Excellence in the Māori Language, Te Panekiretanga, and was a translator for the Māori Language Commission, Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori.

After resigning from EIT late last year to take up a position with the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, Materoa was made an honorary fellow of EIT and maintained a close association with the institute and Te Ūranga Waka.