Ngā Tauira PaeruaPostgraduate Students

Michael Taiapa

Michael Taiapa

PhD student

Qualifications: BA, BA(Hons), PGDip, MA(Applied) Waikato

Iwi: Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi, Tainui

Supervisors: Dr Hēmi Whaanga

Thesis Title: Beyond structuralism: Reconceptualizing pedagogically-oriented descriptions of languages with a focus on te reo Māori


"Ko te reo Māori, he matapihi ki te ao Māori. Mō konei rā, ka riro mā tāua nei kia kore ai tēnei matapihi e kati" "The Māori language is the window to the Māori culture. Wherefore, we must ensure that it never closes" Like the history of te reo Māori, my journey in tertiary study has been both rewarding and challenging. It has prepared my mind, informed my intellect, and enlightened my soul. It has been a journey of self-discovery, new experiences and has opened the door to knowledge in the hope that it may be beneficial to iwi, hapū, whānau, tāngata, the wider nation and a global audience. for all this, however, there had to be a beginning which required a passion of heart and a discipline of mind that was equal to or beyond and above the task ahead. That is, the task of pursuing a life-long academic career in a chosen subject and to contribute positively to the greater body of knowledge in that subject. For me, the first task was to decide what and where to study. From the outset, I had a very clear sense that I would study te reo Māori at Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao with the intent of pursuing a career in Māori language education, and, in particular, the teaching and learning of the language. Overtime, it was necessary to specialize in a more specific area that would further refine my career aspirations. This has led to the designing of pedagogically-oriented descriptions of Māori for the teaching and learning of the language. It looks at the 'meaning' of language in various contexts as opposed to its form (i.e. structure) as a logical starting point for a description of Māori that may be useful to both teachers and learners. This is the nature of tertiary study by starting out in a general context and refining it to a very specific focus. It has been both personally and professionally rewarding, but has not been without its trials and tribulations, such as family and personal affairs, health issues or financial problems that would affect or even halt progress. Therefore I needed order in what sometimes was a chaotic lifestyle. It required balancing of all these different and challenging aspects of my life and has lead to a realization that they are all inseparably connected in one way or another. I have, therefore, become acquainted with principles, such as passion, discipline, hard work, time management, and endurance that are necessary and often require continued strengthening along the journey's path. Work opportunities and experience related to my study has been the fruits of my labour which was made possible through great supervisors, lecturers, colleagues, friends and family to whom I am grateful. It is my hope that your journey will open a door to opportunity and that the window to your own tertiary study will never close. Karawhuia mai!