Breadcrumbs

Researcher learns lessons for church

1 September 2014

Whitiaua Ropitini

Lessons for church: Whitiaua Ropitini, Best Overall individual Presentation winner at the 2014 Te Toi O Matariki Māori Graduate Conference.

Whitiaua Ropitini isn’t used to delivering public presentations, but if his first attempt is anything to go by, he’s a natural.

Whitiaua, who is completing a Master of Arts in Māori at the University of Waikato, was judged the winner of the 2014 Te Toi O Matariki Māori Graduate Conference.

The annual conference gives Māori graduate and post-graduate students the opportunity to promote their research and gain presenting experience, support each other and to help raise the profile of graduate and post-graduate study.

Strengthening church in hometown

Students are given a 10 minute slot to present their research and Whitiaua delivered his entirely in te reo Māori. His research is looking at ways to strengthen the Ringatu Church in his hometown of Ruatahuna.

He says he found a 1974 interview with the late Tuhoe kaumatua John Rangihau, in which he said unless the church adapted to attract younger people it would suffer.

“He predicted what the church would be like in 40 years and it has come to pass,” Whitiaua says.

“I took a photo of the church in 2012 and there were 26 people. Five of us travel each month, five were kids and the rest were kaumatua.”

Whitiaua says it was the first time he had delivered a presentation to a public audience and found it a nerve-wracking experience.

“But once I got going they couldn’t shut me up.”

Other winners from the conference included:

Best overall Faculty Presentation

School of Māori and Pacific Development

Highly Commended Faculty Presentation

Te Piringa – Faculty of Law

People’s Choice Award

Jordan Cooper – Faculty of Science and Engineering

Highly Commended Presentations

Mahuru Robb – Faculty of Science and Engineering

Jordan Cooper – Faculty of Science and Engineering

Adrienne Paul – Te Piringa – Faculty of Law

Maria Huata – School of Māori and Pacific Development

Best Overall individual Presentation

Whitiaua Ropitini – School of Māori and Pacific Development


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