Ruatoria teen attains top nationwide NCEA Te Reo Rangatira results

updated By Taroi Black

A Ruatoria taiohi gains top NCEA results in New Zealand for Te Reo Rangatira. Hunaara Waerehu, 17, brings the outcome down to his passion for the unique language of Ngati Porou.    

The year 13 student of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Waiū o Ngāti Porou in Ruatoria saw his results on the NZQA website.

“I was completely shocked – Ka mau te wehi,” he says.

The New Zealand Scholarship – Te Reo Rangatira is a three hour external exam which looks into two parts of the assessment, receptive skills and expressive learning.

Students who take on the exam must show competence in the two areas (receptive skills and expressive learning) and cover a wide range of issues relating to te ao Maori.

In the assessment, students are required to have strong opinions and views on matters concerning Te Reo Rangatira.

For Waerehu, this was the perfect scenario to ensure that his upbringing among his hapū, iwi and whānau were adhered to in the assessment.

“Our school is uniquely Ngati Porou.”

The results that have elevated Waerehu to the top in Aotearoa earns himself a $2000 per year scholarship for his tertiary education.

Next year he hopes to gain a spot at The University of Auckland to study for a Bachelor in Commerce, majoring in accounting and finance. With the incentive of returning home to help his iwi and be a part of the legacy of matauranga that is already established on the East Coast.

Waerehu has the long term goal to work for the New Zealand Medical Cannabis Council after graduating.

With Tairawhiti having the only Māori company with a medicinal cannabis growing license, Hunaara sees this as the perfect opportunity to carve a pathway for whanau to gain jobs.  

“It is not just a drug, our community's aim is to create jobs that will help benefit our people on the East Coast.”

‘At just 17, he is the youngest talent on Season 2 of #HeAhaToSay'. A series produced by Ngahuia Wade for Radio Ngāti Porou.