19 Jul 2011

Dame Katerina Mataira laid to rest

8:13 pm on 19 July 2011

One of the most influential women in the renaissance of te reo Māori has been laid to rest.

Dame Kahurangi Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira died on Saturday, aged 78.

Thousands of people attended her tangi at Ōhinewaiapū Marae near Ruatoria to pay their respects.

A former chief executive of the Māori Language Commission, Haami Piripi, says she introduced the Ataarangi method of language learning; wrote many books on the subject, and was a superb role model for her pupils and colleagues.

He says she was indeed a tohunga or a master of te reo Māori, and her death is a huge loss.