2009: Katerina Te Keikoko Mataira

(1932-2011) Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira has been at the forefront of Maori language revival and teaching for many years.She has published a number of award winning picture books in Maori for children including Marama Tangiwheto and Nga Mokonui a Rangi. However, her ground breaking work has been the writing of novels in Maori – Te Atea published in 1975, Makorea published in 2002 and Rehua published in 2006.

She has been active for 30 years on Maori language issues. Among her many achievements Katerina has been described as the mother of Kura Kaupapa Maori (maori language immersion schools), having co-authored Te Aho Matua – the philosophy and charter for kaupapa Mäori schools.In 1996, Katerina’s lifetime contribution to te reo Mäori was recognised by Waikato University when she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. A year later, she was named in the Queen’s Honours List as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.