Te Mihinga Komene
Te Mihinga is passionate about and committed to the revitalisation of te reo Māori in education. In her role as Pou Ārahi at The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab she provides leadership, academic and pastoral support and mentoring for Māori and Pacific postgraduate students, as well as being an advisor for Māori masters students.
Nō Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tamaterā, Ngāti Whakaue me Ngāti Porou.
Te Mihinga also takes on the responsibility of upskilling the cultural competency of staff across the organisation, an incredibly vital task to help guide us and enable us to give better support to our learners, colleagues and partners. She is both an advisor and facilitator for all staff in tikanga and te reo Māori, kaupapa Māori, mātauranga Māori, Māori leadership and mātāpono.
As part of her complex role, Te Mihinga is co-leader of our Te Ara Kōtihi Working Group, which drives our teaching and learning as an organisation. She’s part of the Māori & Pacific staff support team, an Academic Board Working Group member, a Digital & Data Working Group member and a member of the He Rourou editorial team.
Te Mihinga specialises in second language acquisition, grammar and vocabulary, and using digital tools to enhance and support te reo Māori learning and teaching at all levels. Due to this skill level and passion Te Mihinga is also the convenor for all assessments submitted in te reo Māori across the organisation, which includes marking, moderating and translating.
For the future Te Mihinga sees the localisation of the school curriculum as our destined path, particularly through co-designing education with mana whenua. She sees this as including the history of the mana whenua, Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership, tikanga, kawa and of course te reo Māori. An incredible future to be striving for, and one that we can’t shy away from.
If she could go back in time and meet anyone it would be her great-great-grand uncle, Sir Āpirana Ngata, on her mother's maternal side – who we imagine would be incredibly proud of what Te Mihinga has achieved in her career so far.
No doubt included in this conversation with Sir Ngata would be all Te Mihinga’s activism for te reo Māori, and her being awarded the Te Toa Reo Māori Mātauranga (ā-Reo Māori) Award, Ngā Tohu Reo Māori from Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori in 2016.
If considering her life as a movie, Te Mihinga sees similarities with the character of John Keating (Robin Williams) in Dead Poet’s Society – where he shows his learners ways to see things from different perspectives, questions the norm, seizes the day, helps everyone bring out the best in each other, and encourages people to follow their own dreams and not what people expect of them. We can certainly agree she takes on this role at The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab and we’re lucky to have her guiding our way and inspiring us every day.
1998: BA (Māori Studies), Victoria University of Wellington
2000: BA Hons. in Māori, University of Canterbury
2000: Grad. Dip. in Secondary Teaching & Learning, Christchurch College of Education
2011: Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo Māori, Rangapū 7, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa
2020: Te Pae Kaakaa, Waikato-Tainui
2021: Currently studying towards a MA of Māori & Indigenous. Studies, University of Waikato