Te Mātāwai congratulates board co-chair on te reo Māori Lifetime Achievement Award

Pānui Pāpāho


Te Tai Tokerau te reo Māori champions, Waihoroi and Rāhera Shortland, last night received the Ngā Tohu Reo Māori Te Tohu Oranga Angitu - Lifetime Achievement Award in Auckland 

Known to many by the nickname Wassie, Waihoroi Shortland (Ngāti Hine) grew up in the Northland town of Matawaia. His first language was Māori, which has been a bedrock for his future career; Shortland didn’t speak English until he began primary school. 

Waihoroi has worked extensively throughout Te Tai Tokerau in both the public and private sector from the Māori Land Court to working as a Māori Community Officer in Auckland, Pukekohe and Kaitāia. He has more than 30 years’ experience working in te reo Māori-related media, film and theatre and is a former member of the Māori Television Services Board. Waihoroi was a Commissioner for Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori. 

Rāhera Shortland (Ngapuhi) has spent her lifetime career teaching te reo Māori and tutoring kapa haka in secondary schools. She established the first total immersion Māori language unit in a secondary school, at Auckland Girls' Grammar. 

In 2015, Rāhera was awarded Te Tohu Aroha mo Ngoi Kumeroa Pewhairangi in the prestigious Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi Awards for her contribution to strengthening te reo. She helped establish, and now chairs, Te Ataarangi Educational Trust. She is a licensed te reo Māori translator and interpreter and is also an author.

Waihoroi is currently the Co-Chair of the Te Mātāwai Board alongside Mereana Selby. Selby says, “This award acknowledges both Waihoroi and Rahera’s huge contribution to the revitalisation of te reo Māori across the education and broadcasting sectors – amongst their whānau, hapū, iwi and throughout the motu”.

Fellow Te Mātāwai Board member, Dr Ruakere Hond was also recognised for his contribution to the kaupapa, receiving the Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori – Te Tohu Mana Hautūtanga – Transformative Leadership Award.  

Hond, of Taranaki and Te Ātiawa, is a longstanding Māori language advocate. He has held several leadership roles in Māori language organisations, including Te Reo o Taranaki, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and Te Ataarangi, and a previous board member of Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori.

Selby says “All of the finalists and winners tonight exemplify the passion we have for te reo Māori. They are working tirelessly across sectors including education, community, media and business to make sure our language flourishes. We celebrate them all and salute their commitment to our reo, to our tikanga and our people”

A full list of winners can be found here: https://en.tetaurawhiri.govt.nz/nga-tohu-2019(external link)