Catherine Moana Dewes

Iwi/hapū: Ngāti Rangitihi, Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou

Cathy Dewes.JPGCathy is the Principal of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ruamata in Rotorua, one of the first Māori language schools. Cathy is a long-time advocate of Te Reo Māori and has been actively involved in various Māori language revitalisation initiatives for more than three and a half decades.

Cathy was the first woman to serve on the Te Arawa Māori Trust Board and was involved with advocating a fair settlement for Ngāti Rangitihi in the CNI Forests Collective Settlement. She has also been a board member of Māori Television and Te Reo Irirangi o Te Arawa radio station.

Cathy was one of the group who began Maori Language Day in 1975, which later became Māori Language Week. She was instrumental in the establishment of kura kaupapa Māori schools throughout Aotearoa, and was chairwoman of Te Runanganui o Kura Kaupapa Māori, the national body for kura kaupapa Māori.

In 2012 Cathy won the award for Māori language leadership at the Māori Language Awards. She also has been awarded the ONZM (Officer of the Order) for services to Māori, and holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Waikato for her work on Te Reo Māori.