University puts te reo and Kīngitanga at the forefront

18 September 2019

Kiingitanga Day 2019
Visitors were welcome on campus at this year’s Kīngitanga Day.

Māori markets, a three-course meal served in te reo, and a keynote speech by Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon were on the cards last week as the University of Waikato celebrated Kīngitanga Day and Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

Kīngitanga Day, an annual event that recognises the University’s unique connection with the Kīngitanga and Waikato-Tainui, was celebrated across both Hamilton and Tauranga campuses and saw the convergence of key cultural influencers on university grounds.

Under the theme Kotahitanga – Unity, Kīngitanga Day provided a platform to unite cultures across both campuses and the wider community.

“The University of Waikato is unique in that we are the only University to have a Māori name,” says Dr Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori.

“Our name acknowledges the tribal land on which the University’s Hamilton campus is located, as well as the wider Waikato region.

“Part of Kīngitanga Day this year was to not only acknowledge our cultural distinctiveness, but to embrace and share our culture, and all other cultures who share the campus with us.”

The event started with a pōwhiri and karakia, followed by an opening address by Dr Tiakiwai and a keynote speech from Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon.

Throughout the day attendees were treated to various activities, from cultural boat tours on the Waikato River and bus tours in Tauranga, to market stalls and hangi.

Kiingitanga Day 2019
(L-R) University Kaumātua Taki Turner, Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley, Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori Dr Sarah-Jane Tiakiwai, and Professor Pou Temara.

Guest lectures were also hosted by researcher and The Non Plastic Māori blogger Tina Ngata, as well as writer and historian Dr Vincent O’Malley.

In conjunction with Kīngitanga Day, activities ran throughout the week on campus as part of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

Dr Tiakiwai says the fact Kīngitanga Day fell within Te Wiki o te Reo Māori was fitting since the University has played a key role in the revitalisation of te reo for a number of years.

“Te Mata o te Arero was the name given to our Te Wiki o te Reo Māori programme of activities this year,” says Dr Tiakiwai.

“This name was gifted by Professor Pou Temara and it’s a name that pays homage to the contribution of former Professor, Te Wharehuia Milroy, who played a crucial role in the survival of te reo Māori not only on campus but throughout Aotearoa.”

Like Kīngitanga Day, events ran across both Hamilton and Tauranga campuses for the week, including games in te reo, cultural narrative tours of the Tauranga campus, and a Māori themed menu created and served in te reo by MasterChef New Zealand winners Kasey and Karena Te Awa Bird.

Latest stories

Related stories


Māori astronomer receives Prime Minister's award

University of Waikato Professor Rangi Matamua (Tūhoe), has been awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Communications…

The state removal of Māori children from their families is a wound that won't heal - but there is a way forward

Too many New Zealand children are born into a state of crisis, as two recent…

Te Tohu Paetahi graduate credits programme for changing his life

For Anaru Palmer, a year studying te reo Māori through Te Tohu Paetahi at The…

Luke Moss

Desire to normalise te reo leads student to create his own clothing line

At first glance, Luke Moss would appear to be like any other university student. But…

Debashish Munshi, Priya Kurian and Sandy Morrison

100% climate resilient?

New research asks how prepared is Aotearoa’s highly valuable tourism sector for the coming impacts…

Mr G’s final ‘HOME’ artwork “Kotahitanga” embodies the essence of Waitangi Day

World-renowned street artist Mr G has spent Waitangi Day working on the final artwork in…

Maui Hudson

Indigenous genomics under the microscope at SING conference

The University of Waikato is hosted the first ever SING Indigenous Genomics Conference as international…

Professor Brendan Hokowhitu

Professor named Royal Society Te Apārangi Fellow

The Dean of the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies, Professor Brendan Hokowhitu (Ngāti Pūkenga),…

Brendan and co

New funding for Kaumātua study

Waikato professor to lead $2.5 million Kaumātua study with a mana motuhake focus.

NAISA and sunshine

The first day of formal sessions is on at the Native American and Indigenous Studies…

Historic gathering of Indigenous experts

The Native American and Indigenous Studies Association has started in Hamilton, with a record number…

NAISA a watershed moment for Deaf Indigenous communities

The world’s biggest gathering of Indigenous studies experts in the Waikato this week will also…