International Centre for Language Revitalisation


Read a welcome from our Director, Professor Tania Ka‘ai (PhD), here.

Dr Tania Ka‘ai - Director

Dr Tania Ka‘ai is Professor in Māori Innovation and Development, in Te Ara Poutama, Faculty of Māori Development. She is of Te Whānau a Ruataupare o Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Wheke o Ngāi Tahu, Hawaiian descent. Dr Ka‘ai is an alumni of Waikato, Auckland and Harvard Universities. She has worked in tertiary education for 21 years; 12 of these in university education as a Professor.  She joined Te Ara Poutama in July 2007 and was appointed Director of Te Ipukarea – the National Māori Language Institute in July 2008 and Director, International Centre of Language Revitalisation in 2011.

Dr John Moorfield - Professor

Dr Moorfield has been Professor in Māori Innovation and Development at Te Ara Poutama, the Faculty of Māori Development since July 2007.  He is a specialist in Māori language, literature and culture, including teaching Māori as a second language.  Included in his publications are a series of four graduated textbooks and resources, called Te Whanake, for teaching Māori to teenagers and adults.  Most of the resources are now available online and include a dictionary, podcasts, and online assessment.

Tania Smith – Executive Assistant and Programme Administrator

Tania is from the Ngāti Ranginui tribe in the Bay of Plenty and also Waikato.  She is employed part-time as the Executive Assistant for Te Ipukarea and the International Centre for Language Revitalisation where she manages the administrative requirements for Te Ipukarea and the Centre.  Tania is also a part-time Programme Administrator:  Postgraduate for Te Ara Poutama.  She brings a wealth of tertiary institutional knowledge to AUT having spent seventeen years in administration at tertiary institutions.  Tania completed a Master of Professional Business Studies endorsed in Māori Development in 2010 and a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching in June of this year.  She is currently completing her proposal for a Master of Philosophy.

Dr Larisa Warhol – Fulbright Scholar 2013

Dr Warhol holds a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the Arizona State University.  Her dissertation research was on the first policy analysis on the development and impacts of the landmark federal legislation, the Native American Languages Act of 1990/1992.  Dr Warhol also holds a M.S.Ed in Intercultural Communications from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A in Classical Civilization from Yale University.  Her research encompasses language education policy; American Indian education policy; international and comparative education; language and gender; Indigenous language revitalization efforts; non-formal education programs and urban education policy contexts.   Her academic training and expertise in education and language policy and planning for indigenous communities is contributing to the Master of Arts in Language Revitalization

Elisa Duder – Research Fellow

Elisa is currently doing doctoral study on the role of second language learners in language revitalisation.  When her son was very young she decided his first language was to be Māori and through her son has seen the commitment language revitalisation efforts require of families and communities. Her research interests are the use of digital technologies in the second language teaching and learning of te reo Māori, the ecology of endangered languages and how Pākehā, contribute to research in Māori contexts.

Dr Rachael Ka‘ai-Mahuta – Associate Director/Senior Lecturer

Dr Ka‘ai-Mahuta is of Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu and Native Hawaiian descent. She also has connections to other areas of the Pacific. Her doctoral thesis explored the role of Māori songs as political commentaries and archives of Māori political history. Dr Ka‘ai-Mahuta is a graduate of Māori language immersion schooling. She wrote her Master of Arts thesis entirely in the Māori language. Dr Ka‘ai-Mahuta is now a senior lecturer in Te Ara Poutama and an associate director for the International Centre for Language Revitalisation. Her research interests are in indigenous politics, Māori performing arts and Māori language.

Dr Dean Mahuta – Senior Lecturer

Dr Mahuta is from the Waikato Tribe on the northern banks of the Waikato River in the North Island of New Zealand. His doctoral thesis focused on the identity connections of the Waikato people and the Waikato river.  His thesis was written completely in the Māori language. Dr Mahuta was the first person to complete his PhD in Māori at AUT and he is also a graduate of Kura Kaupapa and Wharekura, which are the Māori language immersion schools in Aotearoa/New Zealand.  He is also one of the first three graduates of Māori immersion schools to be awarded with his doctorate.  Dr Mahuta is now a senior lecturer in Te Ara Poutama and an associate director of Te Ipukarea, National Māori Language Institute. His research interests are in the representation of Māori language and culture in digital spaces, particular those areas regarding digital gaming and technology.

John Patolo – Lecturer

John Patolo is a mature student of Samoan descent. He is a second generation migrant from Samoa, the son of Figoto Sui Lino of Faleapuna and Safune and, Lealasalanoa Kalala from Lauli'i, Lufilufi, Vailele and Matautu-Lefaga. John’s research interests are around ethics of social research especially in relation to indigenous communities and developing countries. He also has an interest in international conflict resolution and indigenous epistemology.  His research is a comparative study of Pacific Islanders living in Aotearoa/New Zealand using quantitative secondary data from the New Zealand Social Survey 2008.  He plans to proceed on to a PhD and proposes to investigate the health of Cook Islands languages using population Censuses and other secondary data surveys.

Benita Simati- Kumar – Research Assistant

Benita Kumar's research focuses on Pacific concepts and how they have the potential to create and develop diaspora communities. She is interested in indigenous forms of craft, and how the deconstruction of these teachings can form theoretical framework models, and methodologies. Benita graduated with her Master of Art & Design (First Class) in July 2012.  She is now pursuing a PhD in Te Ara Poutama focusing on Pacific communities