Te Kura’s Chief Executive wins Ngā Tohu Reo Māori National Māori Language Award

Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) Chief Executive Mike Hollings has won the Takitahi, Individual category in Ngā Tohu Reo Māori, National Māori Language Awards 2018.

Te Kura Board Chair Dame Karen Sewell says, “For Mike, this award is recognition of his lifetime dedication to the Māori language. Chatting in te reo Māori to his elders in Masterton as a young teacher gave him fluency and a deep sense of commitment to the language and his later learning in education and linguistics strengthened this.”

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 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.”

Mike’s career has included teaching in Palmerston North and the Wairarapa, establishing a graduate diploma in Bilingual Education at The University of Waikato, serving as Chief Executive of Te Māngai Pāho, the Māori Broadcasting Funding Agency and in 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.

Karen Sewell says, “Everywhere he has worked, Mike has promoted te reo Māori, in kohanga reo, in kura kaupapa Māori, in various public service departments, and now, in Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu. He has always given generously of his language skills from speaking on formal occasions up and down Aotearoa to his enthusiastic leading of public service waiata groups, accompanying them on his guitar.”

“The students, staff and Board of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu are very proud of our tumuaki, Mike Hollings, and the richness he brings to our lives.

“Mā te kōrero, te reo e ora ai.”