E hu ra Whakaari, e tau te kohu o te pouri ki runga i o iwi, mai i Tikirau ki nga Kuri a Wharei, e tangi ana ki a Roka Paora e tiraha ana ki Te Kaha nui a Tiki.
E Te Whanau a Apanui, kua roa te kuia nei e korero ana mo koutou, mai i tona akoranga i nga korero a Hoani Waititi mo Tamahae raua ko Rewi, ki ana pukapuka ako i nga korero paki o e wa kainga, tae noa ki tona whakapapa i o koutou tipuna ki te pukapuka ipurangi ki Te Ara.
Inaianei, m? koutou e korero mona e takoto nei, mo tona kaingakau ki te reo o ona tipuna, mo tona pumau ki nga tikanga tuku iho o Te Whanau a Apanui, mo tona kaha ki te whakanui i tona iwi Maori ki nga iwi o te ao!
E te whaea, e te tohunga kairangi, moe mai ra, moe mai ra, moe mai ra!
Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples joins Te Whanau a Apanui and the many family and friends of Dr Roka Pahewa Paora in mouning her passing.
Roka Paora was a stalwart of Te Whanau a Apanui tikanga, and a staunch advocate of te reo Maori and education all her adult life, starting as a teacher in the 1960s, Dr Paora helped Hoani Waititi and others launch the modern renaissance of Maori language in education” said Dr Sharples
Whaea Roka was one of the original judges for Te Matatini, the national kapa haka festival which has driven a resurgence in contemporary Maori performing arts. In addition she was a prolific writer of classroom resources, a contributor to curricula, an adviser, assessor and examiner in Maori language and tikanga, and editor of two Maori language dictionaries, among many other achievements.
Last year Mrs Paora was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Waikato University, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Maori education.
Dr Paora was one of the generation of kaumatua, raised among their iwi and speaking Maori as a first language, whose rigour and discipline have helped to maintain the integrity of te reo Maori through its incredible revival of recent years. Her death is a sad loss, but we can all be grateful for her life’s work,” said Dr Sharples.
Awarded Honorary Doctorate from University of Waikato
In August 2010, in Opotiki she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato. More than 250 family and friends attended the ceremony where University Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford paid tribute to Mrs Paora’s long and distinguished career. He said he felt privileged to be conferring the honorary doctorate on Mrs Paora. “She has been a leader and teacher, and a carrier of knowledge passed down to her by her Kaumatua, which she in turn has passed on to her students and her wider community.”
As a teacher in the 1960s, based in her home town Te Kaha, Mrs Paora was a member of a pioneering group of Maori writers and educators who developed creative resources and ways to teach Maori language in the context of iwi and hapu experiences, history and whakapapa.
Her expertise in te reo saw her called upon to be a translator, editor, researcher and composer, assessor and examiner, tutor and television adviser.
Her many publications included the Learning Maori with Parehau and Sharon series, “Kia Ora”, a bi-cultural social studies classroom resource, and a comprehension book for the Te Wharekura Maori language school journal. She was also co-editor of the revised seventh edition of the Williams’ Dictionary and the Ngata Dictionary. Mrs Paora was also an adviser to the Ministry of Justice and the National Kohanga Reo Trust.
More recently, alongside her more weighty texts, she translated Disney books into Maori, including Lilo and Stitch, Winnie the Pooh, Aladdin and Barney.
Mrs Paora worked at Waikato University for a time,” said Professor Crawford. “She went out of her way to help staff expand their knowledge of Maori language and literacy. Her research and writing now informs their research and teaching.”
Another significant part of Mrs Paora’s life was the Returned Services Association and the Maori Battalion. She researched the Maori Battalion’s C Company and in 1977 travelled with the 28th Maori Battalion pilgrimage to Europe and the Mediterranean and during the 1990s she travelled with C Company to Italy.