Huirangi Waikerepuru - 26 Jul
Waka Huia profiles one of Taranaki's esteemed kaumatua, Dr Huirangi Waikerepuru. Dr Waikerepuru is a renowned advocate and champion of the Maori language. He led the fight to recognise te reo Maori as an official language of Aotearoa and to acknowledge te reo Maori as a taonga under the Treaty of Waitangi.
Huirangi Waikerepuru is one of Taranaki's most pre-eminent kaumätua. Huirangi spearheaded the revitalisation of Te Reo Mäori me önä tikanga in Taranaki. He has been a key driver in the revitalisation of ancient Taranaki karakia and waiata and of Ao Mäori concepts and traditions in Taranaki. This programme looks at Huirangi's upbringing and early influences, his education and ultimately his passionate and determined crusade for the recognition, status, mana and revitalisation of te reo Mäori.
Huirangi's grew up in the small Taranaki town of Te Hawera. Te reo Mäori was his first language. His early experiences, particularly of education, set him on a path of fighting for the recognition and status of te reo Mäori.
As Chairman of Ngä Kaiwhakapumau i te Reo, Huirangi Waikerepuru was instrumental in the gaining official recognition of the Mäori language and also in the establishment of Mäori radio stations and Mäori television when they took the government to court about its lack of action in ensuring the survival of te reo Mäori. Huirangi received an honorary doctorate in Mäori Studies from the University of Waikato for his contribution to te reo Mäori. Huirangi has over the years been involved in a number of Taranaki issues including environmental issues and the return of historical confiscated lands. In April 2009, Huirangi turned 80.