Kāterina Mataira

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Dame Kāterina Mataira
Born (1932-11-13)13 November 1932
Tokomaru Bay, New Zealand
Died 16 July 2011(2011-07-16) (aged 78)
Hamilton, New Zealand
Known for Māori language proponent, educator, intellectual, artist, writer

Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira DNZM (13 November 1932 – 16 July 2011) was a New Zealand Māori language proponent, educator, intellectual, artist and writer.[1] Her efforts to revive and revitalise the Māori language (te reo Māori), led to the growth of the Māori immersion schools (Kura Kaupapa Māori) in New Zealand.[1]

She was born in 1932 in Tokomaru Bay,[2] on the east coast of the North Island.[1] She was a member of the Ngāti Porou Māori iwi.[1] Mataira had nine children with her husband, Junior Te Ratu Karepa Mataira.[3] She initially studied to be an art teacher and educator.[3]

Mataira and a friend, fellow teacher Ngoi Pēwhairangi, co-founded the Te Ataarangi program as a way to teach and revitalize the Māori language.[3] Mataira was intrigued by the Silent Way, a language teaching method created by Caleb Gattegno, and adapted to method to teach Māori.[3] Her efforts earned her the nickname as the "mother" of the Kura Kaupapa Māori, or Maori immersion schools, according to Dr. Pita Sharples.[3] She also authored Māori language children's picture books and novels.[3]

In the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours Mataira was appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for service to the Māori language.[4]

Mataira died on 16 July 2011, in Hamilton, at the age of 78.[3] She was survived by her nine children, 50 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.[3] Her tangi, or Māori funeral, was at the Ohinewaiapu Marae in Rangitukia.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d McCammon, Belinda (16 July 2011). "Leading Maori language figure Dame Katerina dies". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Interview with Katerina Mataira - Kids". Christchurch City Libraries. 1932-11-13. Retrieved 2014-05-15. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Dame Katerina Mataira dies". New Zealand Press Association. The New Zealand Herald. 16 July 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Queen's Birthday Honours 2011" (8 July 2011) 97 New Zealand Gazette 2829.