Teacher among best in NZ

Enoka Murphy has been recognised as one of the top tertiary teachers in the country.

Murphy, a former Spotswood College and New Plymouth Boys' High student, taught at Rangiatea and has links to Parihaka.

The te reo Maori and tikanga lecturer from the University of Waikato received a Sustained Excellence Award for teaching in a kaupapa Maori context at the Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Awards.

The $20,000 award comes just a year after he picked up a Faculty Teaching Excellence Award from the university.

Teaching te reo, he said, was not like teaching any other subject.

"It's not just getting up in the morning and going to work. We're part of it. Te reo is at the core of the reclamation of our language, our culture, our rights," he said.

Murphy, of Ngati Manawa, Ngati Ruapani, Mataatua, Tainui and Te Arawa descent, said winning awards was not what he was about.

"But you get pushed into these things," he said.

"The loyal thing to do is to say yes."

Murphy's parents were teachers and he said he had been teaching since he was 15 or 16 when he finished school certificate.

He taught in kohanga reo, kura kaupapa Maori and at tertiary level, and was involved in theatre, kapa haka and speech competitions. His entry to the awards was the first to be completed entirely in te reo.

"There are excellent Maori teachers all over the place who won't go for this sort of thing unless they are pushed," he said.

"There are people who have been doing this for 50 years and they are awesome. People like Wharehuia Milroy, Timoti Karetu, Huirangi Waikerepuru and many others.

"I can jump around and make cool games and great resources whereas they can just sit in a chair and speak and every student will hang off their every word.

"This is as much an acknowledgement of them."

Taranaki Daily News