New knight Sir Haare Williams a champion of te reo and education

3:08 pm on 31 December 2022
Dr Haare Williams nō Ngai Tuhoe, Te Aitanga a Mahaki

Dr Haare Williams nō Ngai Tuhoe, Te Aitanga a Mahaki Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

Pioneer Māori broadcaster Dr Haare Williams has been appointed a knight for services to Māori, literature and education.

The teacher, author and poet has been a passionate advocate for education and has long championed the use of te reo.

He said as an adolescent, he saw his face reflected in the mud flats of the Ōhiwa Harbour telling him to have a dream.

That dream was to be a school teacher and Sir Haare said working with rangitahi was was one of the things he was most proud of.

"I still consider being a school teacher is perhaps the most noble and ennobling career that anyone can have, especially the teachers of the smallest children kindergarten teachers, preschool educators and mothers."

He said he remained passionate about teaching and its role in shaping the future of the country, with the hope Aotearoa could become the most liberal, small democracy on the planet.

His 2019 book Words of a Kaumātua touched on his childhood and the issues stemming from inequality in New Zealand.

The book won the te reo Māori category of the 2020 Society of Authors' Heritage Book Awards.

Sir Haare co-founded the New Zealand Māori Artists and Writers Association and is kaumātua of the Kotahi Rau Pukapuka initiative, which aims to produce 100 great books in te reo Māori.

He was a pioneer in Māori broadcasting as the general manager of Aotearoa Radio and established a joint venture with the South Seas Film and Television School to train te reo speakers as producers and operators in film and television.

He has been dean of Māori education and Māori advisor to the chief executive at Unitec. He has worked closely with iwi claimant communities and was a cultural advisor for mayors of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Trevor Maxwell, Paul Morgan, Lisa Tumahai, Kaa Williams and Tawhirimatea Williams have been made Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit in part for their services to Māori as well as their contributions in other fields such as education and business.

Maxwell has been a councillor with the Rotorua Lakes District Council for 45 years and has served as the cultural ambassador for Rotorua since 2013. He served as the deputy mayor from 2002 until 2013 and as chair and deputy chair of Te Arawa Kapa Haka Charitable trust since 1990.

He was a member of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Board, chair of Opera in the Pā and a board member of Waiāriki Institute of Technology for 10 years.

Morgan has been instrumental in helping iwi reclaim their ancestors' land to develop commercial and social enterprises to restore the social and economic wellbeing of Māori.

Tumahai (Ngāi Tahu, Tainui, Ngāti Hikairo, Ngāti Kahungunu) has been the chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu since 2016, contributing to Māori health and development, and climate change efforts.

Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai

Lisa Tumahai has chaired Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu for the last six years. Photo: RNZ / Tess Brunton

She has been the director of Arahura Holdings since 2008, a commercial company located on the West Coast, with a portfolio of property, forestry and tourism.

Kaa Williams (Ngāti Tuhoe, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Manawa, Ngāti Haka-Patuheuheu) and her husband Tawhirimatea Williams (Te Aupouri, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Mahuta, Whakatohea, Ngaitai Ki Torere, Te Whanau Ā Apanui, Ngāti Tuhoe) established the private learning institution Te Wānanga Takiua o ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa in 2000, where Mrs Williams continues as Pouako Matua.

Since 2010 the enrolments for the total immersion Rumaki Reo course have doubled, with more than 200 students enrolled for 2022. The course has led to an increased number of qualified te reo Māori teachers.

Tawhirimatea and Kaa Williams.

Kaa and Tawhirimatea Williams Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

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