Ngā Tauira PaeruaPostgraduate Students

Ngaire Tihema

Ngaire Tihema

PhD student

Qualifications: BA (Education); CELTA; PGDipSLT; MA (Applied Linguistics); DipMPD; MMPD

Iwi: Ngāti Manawa (Ngāti Koro), Waikato (Ngāti Mahuta), Hāmoa, Pākehā

Supervisors: Dr Hēmi Whaanga

Thesis Title: The Teaching and Learning of Te Reo Māori in Tertiary Educational Contexts

Research Interests

Master of Māori and Pacific Development Dissertation Title: Language Teacher Cognition and the Communicative Teaching of Te Reo Māori in Tertiary Education Settings in Aotearoa / New Zealand: A pilot study

A two-paper pilot research project was conducted in 2013 as a precursor to a more extensive project that is currently being conducted within the context of a PhD enrolment.

The pilot study involved a survey of a sample of teachers of te reo Māori in tertiary institutions in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the focus being on their attitudes towards the teaching and learning of the language and their classroom practices, with particular reference to the extent to which these attitudes and practices reflect research-based developments that have taken place in the teaching and learning of additional languages since the mid-20th century.

Conclusions drawn from the research findings:
1. reveal the crucial need for New Zealand tertiary institutions to improve their provision of resources catering to the needs of Māori language learning, Māori language teacher training and practices and te reo Māori revitalisation efforts;
2. suggest in-service programmes that focus on textbook evaluation, materials design, teaching practicums and developments in the teaching and learning of additional languages with particular reference to te reo Māori would be likely to benefit our teachers of te reo Māori;
3. indicate a desire for language policy and planning to be undertaken at a national level and may even signal that the time has come for the issue of a national language plan to be revisited.

Tihema, N. (2013). Language teacher cognition and the communicative teaching of te reo Māori in tertiary education settings in Aotearoa / New Zealand: A pilot study (Unpublished master’s dissertation). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.


1st time I enrolled at university in 2002

Reason: I had no idea what else to do
For my first 2 years at university, I learned valuable lessons of what not to do. For example, only enrolling in courses that were after midday so I had enough time to sleep in and recover from hangovers. I failed a couple of courses because I took education for granted.

2nd time I enrolled at university in 2006

Reason: To get a decent job overseas
Finally, I had intrinsic and extrinsic goals to not repeat mistakes of the past and came to appreciate the value of education. I completed my BA via distance learning in 2007.

3rd time I enrolled at university in 2010

Reason: Couldn’t find a decent job in NZ
I returned home from overseas and realised my BA and CELTA weren’t going to get me any good English language teaching jobs in Hamilton. So I re-enrolled at university and am still here.

Altogether, it took 4 years of study to achieve my BA. After a bit of growing up and maybe wisdom, within 3½ years I gained 4 other qualifications.

I don’t believe “brains” is the biggest factor
My uncle Hone: Do you think you’re clever?
Me: Not really, I think I’m just a hard worker.
I think determination and a good work ethic were actually key to my eventual achievements at university.

Downside of being a student for so long
My aunty Hiki: Kei te Whare Wānanga tonu koe?
Me: Āe
My aunty Hiki: So what are you now, a professional student?
Despite the jokes, I guess I have taken the ‘professional student’ route. However, I have achieved more than what is stated on my qualifications.

Piece of advice
Do not lie to get an extension! Otherwise that lie about your computer breaking could come back to haunt you a few years later and actually become a reality. Take it from someone with experience ;-)