Explore as a

Share our content

Roka Paora

Roka Paora

Māori language expert (1925-2011)

As a teacher in the 1960s, Roko Paora was part of a pioneering group which developed resources to teach Māori language through the context of iwi and hapu experiences.1 As well as working as a researcher, editor, translator and adviser, she was a composer – writing songs such as Marumaru, which helped the Te Whānau-a-Apanui community recall their ancestors.2 She wrote numerous articles and stories for students of Māori, both young and old.

An authority in Māori language, culture and history, Paora advised institutions such as the Ministry of Justice and the National Kōhanga Reo Trust. She was an editor of Māori dictionaries, and translated for Television New Zealand, the University of Otago and private companies. In 2010 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato, where she had also worked for a time.


1. “Honorary Doctorate for Māori Language Pioneer: University of Waikato,” accessed June 29, 2018, https://www.waikato.ac.nz/news-events/media/2010/08Honorary%20Doctorate%20for%20M%C4%81ori%20language%20pioneer.shtml.

2. Parehau Richards, “Heke Mai Ki Ahau Nei E! Roka Paora’s Contributions To Tukunga Iho A Te Whānau-a-Apanui And Te Reo O Te Whānau-a-Apanui,” 2016, http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/handle/10063/5476.

This profile is part of the series 150 Women in 150 Words that celebrates women’s contributions to expanding knowledge in New Zealand, running as part of our 150th Anniversary.