Work on te reo and tikanga recognised

HONOURED: Invercargill man Riki Cherrington.
HONOURED: Invercargill man Riki Cherrington.

Riki Cherrington believes that if you have something in your kete, you should share it.

That is how he sees the contribution he has been making to the understanding of te reo and matauranga Maori in Southland for more than 53 years. "It's what's inside my kete ... you give it out."

Cherrington has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Extremely surprised to have received the honour recognising his services to Maori and education, Cherrington said his motivation came from knowing he was helping people. "You hear people speaking of certain topics of their lives and if you know that you have got something that would enhance [that], you give it out. That's all I do."

In his half-century of service, Cherrington has helped establish an urban marae for Nga Iwi Katoa in Invercargill, and supported the construction of a Whare Tupuna at Murihiku Marae. He also helped establish the kohanga reo on the grounds of Invercargill's basilica and its conversion into Te Tomairangi Marae.

He has been kaumatua at the University of Otago Southland Campus since 1999.

He has been a teacher and kaumatua of Maori studies at the Southern Institute of Technology since 1995 and helped establish a relationship between the SIT and Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

He has also been involved with te reo and tikanga at Invercargill prison, advises the Kai Tech Charitable Trust, and has served on several government committees.

The Southland Times