Professor Rawinia Higgins has been appointed Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori Board - Maori Language Commission chairwoman today.

Higgins is a highly respected academic of Tūhoe descent and has been appointed for a three-year term.

Charisma Rangipunga was also reappointed as a member and deputy chairwoman of the board.

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said today's appointments meant the promotion of the Māori language as a living language will be in excellent hands.

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"Both appointments will be crucial in the on-going revitalisation of te reo Māori across Aotearoa. These appointments were made from nominations received by Te Mātāwai," she said.

Higgins was made deputy vice-chancellor (Māori) at Victoria University in 2016 and also chaired the review of the Māori Language Bill.

Charisma Rangipunga is Te Taumata at Te Rūnanaga o Ngāi Tahu general manager.

She was a member of the Māori language Advisory Group which reviewed the Māori Language Bill and is the author of several books on Ngāi Tahu.

"Te reo Māori is becoming more and more important as a lot more New Zealanders - non-Māori are speaking te reo because they know it's how they can engage with the Māori economy. These appointments are nationally crucial to that process," Mahuta said.