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Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to sponsor Irish Māori Language PhD student Aoife Finn’s visit to New Zealand

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (TwoA) is delighted to announce it will sponsor a visit to New Zealand by Irish Māori language PhD student Aoife Finn.

Aoife’s te reo Māori exploits on Twitter brought her to the attention of media both in Aotearoa and Ireland last month when it was revealed she was in the second year of her PhD at Trinity College, Dublin - studying Māori syntax.

She has been studying te reo Māori for six years – but she has never visited Aotearoa nor has she ever met a Māori in person.

Te Taiurungi (CEO) of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Dr Jim Mather recently extended an invitation to Aoife, from Dundalk near Dublin, to come to New Zealand on a two-week visit that includes visiting five of the national tertiary provider’s campuses in the North Island.

“We are thrilled that Aoife (pronounced e-fa) has accepted our invitation. It is incredible that she has maintained a passion for te reo Māori including completing a master’s degree in Māori linguistics with little interaction with Māori and in a land so far from our own.”

“We believe Aoife is an inspirational figure and I have no doubt that her visit to TWoA will inspire our staff and students as well as guide her in her endeavours to learn te reo Māori.” 

TWoA is the recognised leader in Māori language provision and tuition.

Its language programmes, which include Te Ara Reo Māori, Te Pūtaketanga, Te Aupikitanga, Te Pīnakitanga and Te Panekiretanga o te Reo – for highly advanced speakers - have catered to thousands of students.

TWoA is supporting Aoife’s visit as part of its Reo Ora strategy and she will be billeted in the homes of Māori speaking staff when she arrives on June 23. 

Reo Ora is the organisation’s Māori language strategy and has a goal of half of all TWoA kaimahi (staff) becoming proficient in te reo Māori by 2030.

Bringing Aoife to the wānanga is one of several initiatives to promote the Reo Ora strategy and inspire staff at TWoA.

Aoife will attend te reo Māori classes within TWoA and will also be travelling around the North Island as part of a TWoA Matariki roadshow through the end of this month and early July during Te Wiki o te reo Māori (Māori Language Week).

“We believe this is a modest investment in terms of resources and support from our staff that can only have positive outcomes for all concerned,” said Dr Mather.

Aoife said she was overwhelmed and honoured to be invited to Aotearoa and even more so on hearing she was the first overseas student to be asked to visit TWoA.

“I really massively hope that the spotlight on my work will help with the promotion of te reo and encourage people to learn,” she said.

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Published On: 21 June, 2016

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