by MARJORIE DAWSON
PALMERSTON NORTH — A young man who is passionate about keeping the Maori language alive has been awarded the 2011 top subject scholar for Te Reo Rangatira.
The St Peter’s College, Palmerston North, student Te Kauru Nohotima did not know a word of English until he was eight and, after 16 years of speaking nothing but Maori with his family, he is still coming to grips with speaking English.
He is enrolled in Te Reo Rangatira — which is similar to Te Reo Maori, but for those who grew up speaking the language. He does this by correspondence at home with some help from the college.
In 2011 (year 11) he sat NCEA Level 1 and two papers in the language and also sat the scholarship paper, gaining the New Zealand Top Subject Scholar award.
As the best Te Reo Rangatira student in the country, Te Kauru will receive $2000 a year for up to three years of tertiary education when he leaves school.
This year he will sit the Te Reo scholarship exam, along with English, history, maths and biology.
He plans to study Maori psychology at the University of Otago when he leaves school at the end of 2013.
He is drawn to education, which he thinks is the right place to be to keep the Maori language alive. He is concerned the language is dying, especially in schools, and aims to do what he can to make sure it isn’t lost forever.
Another St Peter’s student, Elizabeth Begley (year 13), achieved two NCEA scholarships in English and classics along with a Victoria Excellence Scholarship. Theresa is now studying law and politics at Victoria University, Wellington.

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