30 Jun 2022

Thursday 30 June 2022

Teachers Leo & Raniera (Parnell, 2004-07) have a view of their roles that is grounded in humility. With reciprocity and mutual respect at the forefront of their minds, the  pair create a safe space for students to learn and role model an approach for tomorrow's speakers of te reo Maori.

Leo Raniera Main

Where have you each joined King’s from? 

I spent seven and a half years as a Māori language journalist working on Maori Television’s Te Kāea, and TVNZ’s Te Karere. I’d fostered some relationships at Māori Television while studying for my Bachelor of Arts at the University of Auckland, but I think my ability to be a storyteller, funnily enough, was fostered here at King’s – that ability to be creative and share things that interest and ignite that passion within you.

Following that, I made the transition to academia and I've spent the last three years as a lecturer at Te Wānanga o Waipapa, which is the School of Maori Studies at the University of Auckland. 

From there I've kind of come full circle, back to King's. I’m really looking forward to implementing some of the learnings that I've been fortunate enough to have gained to over the last decade or so.


My first King’s College experience was back in 2015, when Lincoln Savage, who is a longtime mentor of mine, asked if I could give him a hand with King’s kapa haka. At that time, they were just missing out on the nationals and they needed to win or place in another item to be able to make it through to that next stage.

So, I came through and taught them the action song, and that was the item they placed in, putting them through to the nationals. That's where my journey with King’s started - every year following that, Lincoln would ask if I could offer some support, particularly with vocals and singing. 

In 2019 I was asked to fully take on board the tutorship of kapa haka. And so that’s where my relationship with King’s started to develop and evolve – moving into 2021 when I was offered a position to teach here.  

What do you think it’s important that people know about you? 

I suppose the fact that I was once a student here gives me a different level of understanding when it comes to how, especially our Māori students, can engage in College life. 

For a lot of Māori families who come from sometimes rural settlements around the country, coming to King’s is a really big step. For myself anyway, I was the first in my family to come to a place like this. So, I think, if there is anything for our whanau to know, it’s that when they send their child to an educational institution like King’s, they're in safe hands. Safe pairs of Māori hands where our reo and our tikanga will be fostered and nurtured.


Well, I was immersed in the language from birth, going all the way through kindergarten, which was Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa, which was primary school, and not really realising that there are other schools out here that have non-Maori students. I was immersed in a world where I believed that every school was like our school. 

I started to learn how to read and write in English when I was in Year 7 and that was the worst. It was so difficult and very foreign. So, I can understand how those that are learning te reo Māori could find it quite difficult. I totally understand – I was the same with learning English. 

I value the language, and my culture, and I'm all about the revival of my language and culture. Everything comes after my commitment to that.  

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