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Maira Pihema

WIA 24 Maira Pihema

Maira Pihema is of Tainui/Taranaki/Ngāpuhi descent.

She is a language activist, and has worked in the area of language revitalisation within Aotearoa and the adult Māori language immersion teaching approach known as Te Ataarangi for the past 30 years. The last 20 years has been spent working with communities across the East Coast, where her home is in Tokomaru Bay. This work was language revitalisation, with a focus of language in the homes.

Language revitalisation work has led her to travel to Rapanui (Easter Island), Tahiti, Hawaii and amongst the Tolowa people of California, to support language revitalisation strategies amongst these indigenous peoples.

She currently works at Te Rau Ora, a non-government health organisation based in Kaiwharawhara, that was developed and supported by Sir Mason Durie, and has a focus on strengthening Māori health and wellbeing across the country. Maira works on intergrating and normalising aspects of Māori practice into the day to day delivery of programmes at Te Rau Ora, and across the organisation in general.

She is a part of a team at Te Rau Ora, called ‘He Whare Wahine’ who seek to ensure better health outcomes for Māori women, children and families, through re-connecting to traditional narratives, culture, strategies and aspirations to understanding cultural identity.

She provides Māori cultural support to Chorus, and enjoys increasing awareness amongst the organisation in regards to language learning, and cultural understanding and how these aspects are incorporated into the core values of the organisation.

Maira currently lives in Te Awakairangi (Lower Hutt) and returns often to the East Coast.