“For 44 years of my life I was known as Mrs Biddle, teacher, educator, principal. I gave up my educational career as a Principal in my late 60’s going to Maori Television to work as a translator. I retired three years ago, I am 85.
I started my teaching at a Maori School, where by law we were not allowed to teach or speak Maori. We were forbidden to use the language during school hours. The only way we could preserve our language was through songs and Kapa Haka. There were little to no resources for teaching Maori. No books or things that related to us.
Initially I learnt to speak Te Reo Maori through my husband’s family, they only spoke Maori and they used it to talk about me, so I made it my business to learn!
I know Te Reo will continue to grow as it is now being taught in schools and universities. My language is my well-being, my identity. Without it I am nothing, I am lost.”