Fellow from Hawaii to teach Te Reo at UC

12 July 2016

The University of Canterbury's Te Reo programme in Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies welcomed its first ever Visiting Canterbury Fellow yesterday.

Fellow from Hawaii to teach Te Reo at UC

Visiting Canterbury Fellow Dr Te Raukura Roa, from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, will teach in UC's postgraduate Te Reo Te Kōhure course for the next six weeks.

The University of Canterbury’s Te Reo programme in Aotahi: School of Māori and Indigenous Studies welcomed its first ever Visiting Canterbury Fellow yesterday.

Dr Te Raukura Roa (Waikato-Tainui), from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, will teach in UC’s postgraduate Te Reo Te Kōhure course for the next six weeks.

Head of School Sacha McMeeking (Ngāi Tahu) says that the prestigious fellowship will be transformative for Aotahi, which has record numbers of postgraduate students this year.

“Dr Roa brings not only her expertise, but an injection of passion and a unique insight into Te Reo Māori that will be hugely valuable to our postgraduate students and our staff,” she says.

As a highly-skilled te reo speaker, Dr Roa’s research interests include mōteatea - traditional chants and Māori language revitalisation.

The Ngāi Tahu dialect is of particular interest to Dr Roa while at UC. She says she is looking forward to hearing the language more and to learning the history and stories of Ōtautahi - Christchurch.

Dr Roa grew up in Auckland, studied at Waikato University and then travelled to Hawaii on the Fulbright teaching programme in 2012, where she has been lecturing since.

She explains that te reo Māori is popular with Kānaka Māoli - Native Hawaiians as a second language.

“The alphabets are almost identical and my students in Hawaii quite often swap between te reo and Hawaiian when we’re speaking,” she says.

Dr Roa has also been learning about Hawaiian culture and played the ipu heke ʻole, a percussion instrument often used to provide a beat for hula dancing, during the pōwhiri at Aotahi.

Associate Professor Jeanette King, who invited Dr Roa to UC, says it is an honour to have an academic of Dr Roa’s calibre on campus.

“Dr Roa’s te reo expertise and specialist knowledge of Māori performing arts will really raise the bar for our students,” King says.

The Visiting Canterbury Fellowship programme brings distinguished scholars from overseas to lecture in humanities and social sciences, creative arts, law, and education courses at UC each year.

For further information please contact:
Fiona Clayton, Communications Team Leader
Ph: (03) 364 2775 | communications@canterbury.ac.nz 
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