Professor of Language Revitalisation
Director of Te Ipukarea- the National Māori Language Institute
Faculty of Culture and Society
Professor Tania Ka’ai’s passion for education, in particular for minorities is reflected in all of her previous work, and continues here at AUT.
She studied for her undergraduate degree at the University of Waikato completing a Bachelor of Education before undertaking teaching roles in Whakatāne, Taranaki (including working for the advisory service) and Auckland.
A stint in Europe, South America, and the UK saw Professor Ka'ai teaching minority and multi-ethnic children, which spurred her passion for minorities and diversity of cultures nurtured from within her own family since childhood.
Professor Ka’ai who is of Hawaiian, Cook Island Māori and Māori descent, completed her Master of Philosophy degree at the University of Auckland. The focus of her thesis was the transition of children from Te Kōhanga Reo to school and Māori education in the 1980s. Her research focused on the preservation and revitalisation of te reo Māori, based on Māori parents' response to education failing their children for over 100 years. It was used by the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust as a resource for communities. She went on to complete her PhD at the University of Waikato.
Here at AUT, her work as Director of Te Ipukarea - The National Māori Language Institute and the International Centre for Language Revitalisation, is an opportunity to share her knowledge not only with students and staff at AUT and others nationally, but internationally too, having launched the centre at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May 2011.
Areas of expertise for Professor Ka’ai include language revitalisation strategies and in particular Māori and Pacific languages and indigenous epistemologies and methodologies.