Dame Iritana Te Rangi Tāwhiwhirangi DNZM MBE (born 21 March 1929) is a New Zealand advocate of Māori language education and the Kohanga Reo movement.
Born in Hicks Bay on 21 March 1929,
Tāwhiwhirangi is of Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi, Canadian and English descent. She was educated at Hukarere Girls’ School from 1943 to 1946, and then Wellington Teachers' College from 1947-48.
She is a life member of the Māori Women's Welfare League and Toitū Kaupapa Māori Mātauranga - Māori Education Trust. She is on the Board of Trustees of the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust.
Honours and awards
Tāwhiwhirangi was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal, and in the New Year Honours 1992, she was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her role as general manager of the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust. In 1993, she received the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal.
In the 2001 New Year Honours Tawhiwhirangi was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori education, and in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours she was promoted to Dame Companion, also for services to Māori education.
She was a finalist for the 2014 New Zealander of the Year Awards.