The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is delighted to announce Professor Rawinia Higgins’ successful election to the Global Taskforce for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032 (IDIL).
She was one of three Pacific region representatives selected out of eight nominees at a virtual meeting of indigenous organisations from the region.
Professor Higgins is the Chairperson of Te Taura Whiri i te reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission and has been an advocate for learning te reo for many years.
In a recent article on Stuff.co.nz Rawinia mentions her successful election to the Global Taskforce for the Decade of Indigenous Languages and the power of language in peace building: “Set up in the wake of WWII, UNESCO exists to help build peace in the minds of all people. We know that when it comes to building peace in New Zealand, some of those building blocks have been made out of te reo Māori”.
Professor Higgins is also a member of the Waitangi Tribunal, a board member of Te Mātāwai, Ngā Pae o Te Māramatanga (Māori Centre of Research Excellence), and is the Deputy-Chair of the Māori Knowledge and Development PBRF portfolio.
In 2015, the Minister for Māori Development appointed her chair of the Māori Language Advisory Group which shaped the Māori Language legislation enacted in April 2016. Te Mātāwai was created as part of the new legislation and governs the Māori Language Strategy dedicated to whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities. In 2017, Rawinia was awarded the Te Waitī award for te reo and tikanga at the Matariki awards.