As a part of the Visiting Canterbury Fellowship programme, 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.
This programme brings distinguished scholars from overseas to lecture in humanities and social sciences, creative arts, law, and education courses at UC each year.
Head of School Sacha McMeeking (Ngāi Tahu) says that the prestigious fellowship will be beneficial for Aotahi, which has record numbers of postgraduate students this year.
She says, “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.”
As a highly-skilled te reo speaker, Dr Roa’s research interests include mōteatea 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.
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.
She says, “The alphabets are almost identical and my students in Hawaii quite often swap between te reo and Hawaiian when we’re speaking.”
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.