Tūhoe scholar Professor Pou Temara has received a Knighthood for services to Māori and education. The 71-year-old says he was in two minds about the honour because he did not think he measured up.
His son, Tamahou, helped settle the matter, “He told me Knights are defenders and agitators, they forge new pathways. So that changed my thinking.”
Sir Pou’s actual name is William Te Rangiuia Temara, ‘Pou’ was a nickname given to him as a baby by a cousin who was also raised by his grandparents, Tamahou Tinimene and Pareraututu.
“I was 8 years old when I started school and my kuia drilled me with the few words of English she knew. ‘Hello, my name is William Te Rangiuia Temara. I am 8.’ That’s all I knew, I didn’t even know how to ask to go to the toilet.”
Sir Pou became a keen student with a love for poetry and writing.
At 15, he left Te Urewera and became a boarder at Wesley College. He got the travel bug too, living and working overseas in the 1960s and joining the army as well. His academic qualifications more than measure up too. He studied, lectured and graduated with an MA in 1991 from Victoria University.
He is a member of Kingi Tuheitia’s Council of 12, a former director of Te Panekiretanga o Te Reo. He is also a recognised tohunga, retaining the traditional rituals and knowledge passed on by his grandfather.
Sir Pou is a current member of the Waitangi Tribunal, having been appointed in 2008, and is recognised for guiding proceedings in tikanga. He has been involved with numerous inquiries, including the Te Rohe Pōtae Inquiry from 2012 to 2020. He is a cultural advisor for the judges of the Māori Land Court and advised the New Zealand Defence Force on matters of tikanga. Professor Temara chairs the Repatriation Advisory Panel to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage administered through Te Papa Tongarewa.
He was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015.
In 2017, Sir Pou spoke to Māori Television about haka and tikanga.