Retirement Life
6 April 2022

Senior award announced

The award for the Ryman Healthcare Senior New Zealander of the Year 2022, Te Mātāpuputu o te Tau, has gone to a long time Māori innovator, Rereata Mākiha.


The award was part of the Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year Awards Ngā Tohu Pou Kōhure o Aotearoa.

The pioneering Ngāi Tahu leader Sir Tipene O’Regan won the overall prize.

Ezra Hirawani won the Young New Zealander of the Year award.

But the senior award went to Rereata Mākiha, of Ngapuhi, Te Arawa and Rangitane.

In a tribute to him, the judges said he had dedicated his life to Te Ao Māori and sought new ways to pass on knowledge. He was a broadcaster and journalist from the early 1970s and was instrumental in the revitalisation of te reo Māori.

He is also a specialist in ancestral knowledge and has promoted Mahi tiaki Taiao – environmental work.

Recently Rereata has been active in building up knowledge of and use of the Maramataka – the Māori Lunar Calendar.

In a recent interview with Stuff, Rereata stressed the continuing relevance of Maramataka.

The Maramataka is a complex system traditionally used for sourcing food and fresh water, he said.

“It’s the template for survival,” he said. “If you understand the Maramataka, you’ll understand how to move with the changes in the environment. If you understand that, you can live. You can survive anywhere.”


Photo of Eric Frykberg
Written by:

Eric Frykberg

Semi-Retired, Eric worked in journalism for 45 years across print, radio and television, in New Zealand, Australia and Britain. He has specialised in business, finance, energy, mining, transport and agriculture. He was also foreign correspondent for RNZ for many years. He can be reached on

Get a regular fortnightly, tax-paid, reliable retirement income today.