Te Kura Chief Executive’s contribution to te reo Māori recognised

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu Chief Executive Mike Hollings says he’s humbled to be a finalist in Ngā Tohu Reo Māori – National Māori Language Awards 2018.

Mike is a finalist in the Takitahi - Individual category. One of his nominees says, “Mike’s respect and passion for te reo is evident in his work and daily life”.

Mike grew up in the Wairarapa, in a non-Māori speaking home. He recalls, “I had virtually no contact with our iwi Ngāti Raukawa and Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi or with the local iwi Ngāti Kahungunu and Rangitane. However, I was very proud of my Māori whakapapa and had a strong urge to gain back the language that our immediate whānau had lost.”

Mike went on to study te reo Māori up to Masters level. He took opportunities to visit and stay in areas of New Zealand where Māori was a living language and became a member of Te Reo Māori Society and Ngā Tama Toa.

Mike led the establishment and served as Board Chair of Te Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori in his home community in the Wairarapa. His four children were all raised speaking Maori, and three have gone on to careers in education and broadcasting where fluency in Māori has been a requirement. Mike says, “It took a lot of commitment to learn te reo Māori. I am forever grateful that I did. It has greatly enriched me and my whānau.”

After graduating from University and Teachers’ College, Mike went on to teach in primary and secondary schools in the Wairarapa and Palmerston North. He then went to The University of Waikato and established a graduate diploma in Bilingual Education, training qualified teachers to teach in total immersion schools.

Mike’s been the Chief Executive of Te Mangai Paho, the Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency and held senior positions at Te Puni Kokiri, The Ministry of Māori Development, the Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office. He was also the Chair of Taki Rua Theatre for many years.

In his current role as Chief Executive of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura), formerly the Correspondence School, Mike is leading the school in its support of the revitalisation of te reo Māori. The state distance education provider is committed to becoming a bilingual organisation.

The winners of Ngā Tohu Reo Māori Awards 2018 will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on Friday, 23 November.