“Te reo Māori is an uplifting, beautiful language” says Mike Davey, who feels privileged to have been able to embrace the culture and teach te reo throughout his career.

Growing up in Whakatane in a strongly bi-cultural community, Mike learned local Maori stories and mythology at a young age. He attended Christchurch Teachers College in the mid 70’s when Te Reo and Tikanga Māori was just beginning to be included in mainstream education.

His early teaching always included a strong bicultural element and in 1980 he took the opportunity to help initiate Te Reo and Tikanga Māori programmes in Canterbury Primary schools. This necessitated his own deeper study of the language and he went on to complete an honours degree in Māori at Canterbury University.

With the advent of Te Kohanga Reo his work quickly broadened into the development of bilingual education in Canterbury. Although retired after 35 years in Māori education, he feels fortunate to still be able to offer support to those who wish to learn.

Mike has always wanted to make a difference. He has always wanted to gift the language back to the Māori children who missed out for he believes they deserve to have their language. Language is the heart of the culture and it should be saved. Mike wants to be part of that. Mike described his teaching as “wonderful work” and always tries to respond if the need is there.

“All people want respect and aroha” says Mike. Through his teaching he hopes to give that. Mike is currently completing a third, four-week course at St Barnabas church. Ngā mihi nui Mike.