Originally from Japan, Naoko was inspired to study Māori language and culture with Te Kawa a Māui.
Tohu Māoritanga, Bachelor of Arts with Honours, Graduate Diploma of Arts
“Whāia e koe te iti kahurangi, ki te tūohu koe, me he maunga tiketike.”
“Strive for your ultimate goal and only let a lofty mountain prevent you from achieving this.”
Naoko (from Kanagawa, Japan) was so inspired by Te Ao Māori, its language, culture and tikanga that she left Japan for Te Kawa a Māui and completed a Tohu Māoritanga, a BA in Te Reo Māori and Māori Studies, a GDipArts in Linguistics and a BA(Hons) in Māori Studies. Naoko is proud to say “ko Te Herenga Waka tōku marae” and treasures the manaakitanga of the University marae. She had great support from the marae, her lecturers and friends. She says it once seemed unimaginable, as a Japanese exchange student, to be able to achieve academically in another culture. Naoko used recordings of spoken language spanning more than a hundred years to investigate the language changes in te reo Māori. This challenged her research skills and taught her even more about Māori language, tikanga and herself. Naoko tutored te reo Māori for Te Kawa a Māui and is pursuing a career that puts the knowledge she has gained to good use.