The wāhine toa preserving te reo Māori of her tupuna for her children and the generations to come.
As Te Wiki o te reo Māori comes to a close for most New Zealanders there's one Rotorua whānau for whom speaking the language is a year-round commitment. Behind their Ōhinemutu door it's the only tongue Kahurangi and Chey Milne, their 9-year-old daughter Atareta Milne and the just-learning-to-talk Hinemanawanui Milne use.
Te reo Māori also predominates in the work flowing out of the Milne's production company, Arataua, with its ethos attuned to Maoridom's language and culture.
The decision to converse only in te reo will come as no surprise to those who know Kahurangi Milne by her maiden name – Maxwell, or to take it a step further Maxwell-Morrison.
Her late mother Atareta (after whom her elder daughter's named) was a member of that most well known of Ngāti Whakaue performing whanau, the Morrisons. The late Sir Howard was Kahurangi's uncle. Her grandmother, whose name she carries, was renowned for having the best vocal delivery of them all.
Kahurangi's Maxwell Ngāti Rangiwewehi whakapapa is on her father, Trevor's, side. It's this dual iwi and cultural connection which underscores why she's chosen for her children to grow up totally immersed in te reo Māori.
Today is the 47th anniversary of the petition to officially recognise the Māori language being presented to parliament and subsequently adopted. What better date to delve into the background of the 32-year-old wāhine toa (strong woman) who is passionately dedicated to preserving the linguistic taonga (treasure) of her tūpuna (ancestors) in her home town, fittingly the country's first nationally recognised bi-lingual city.
Kahurangi's is a story which began with her birth at Rotorua Hospital on Pukeroa Hill, the kaitiaki (guardian) of Ōhinemutu pā where almost all her life's been spent.
She's 12 years younger than her brother, Inia Maxwell ( Our People, August 2, 2014 ). They're neighbours on the street the Milnes' company's named after. Naming rights are an important factor for this whānau whose axis spins on all things Māori.
"I think myself very lucky to have grown up riding my bike around the pā, playing with my cousins I learnt what it was actually like to live on the marae, not many Māori are lucky enough to do that.
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"I got the best of my iwi and hapū on both sides, the contrast of the hot and cold by moving between Ohinemutu and Awahou [Ngāti Rangiwewehi's tangata whenua].
Conversely, Kahurangi's earliest memories are of a distant land. "We travelled so much performing. I was eight months old when we toured Europe, my first recollections are of Spain where my parents were leading the group at the 1992 Seville World Expo. I was four when I was performing on stage with my own uniform. We were interacting with other cultures, from that young age it made me appreciate my own background."
Kahurangi was around 6 when she became an official Ngāti Rangiwewehi kapa haka group member.
Her involvement's now off stage as Māori TV's presenter for Te Matatini, the bi-annual national performance championships.
Speaking te reo came early in her life when she attended kohanga reo.
"I'd come home and talk in te reo to Nanny Kahu who was living with us, she was so happy we were able to speak it together, she was the person who solidified my inspiration for my household to speak totally in te reo Māori."
As a result her elder daughter rarely spoke English until she was 6 or 7.
Kahurangi was 19 when he mother died suddenly from a heart condition, her death rocked Rotorua but it was Kahurangi's heart that was torn to shreds.
At the time she was at Victoria University studying law along with a Bachelor of Arts and media studies.
"After my mother died I couldn't go back to Wellington. I transferred to Waikato [University] and dropped the law degree, I only did it because I thought it sounded flash." There's honesty for you.
She was close to finishing her revised degree in marketing and media when she met husband-to-be Chey Milne, he was presenting Māori TV's kids' programme Pūkana.
Following her graduation Kahurangi also went into television. "I was lucky enough to get a job as a researcher with TVNZ. During my first week there I found out I was hapū (pregnant), here I was, my career was about to happen. I did what I knew my grandmother and mother would have done, pulled on my big girl undies and carried on for nine months."
After Atareta's birth the decision to raise her in Ōhinemutu was a no brainer.
"I wanted her to have the same upbringing I did, the luxury of being raised on the marae."
Chey commuted to his Auckland job. By then he was working on Mai Time, a bi-lingual youth show exploring te ao Māori and pop culture.
Kahurangi devoted the first year of her daughter's life to learning to be a mum. "It was hard without my own mum but she gifted me the model of what a mother should be and the ability to bring up our awesome, awesome girl."
When Kahurangi returned to work she was based at the Whakatāne campus of Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiārangi, delivering its bachelor kapa haka course across the country. Four years on she became senior marketing specialist at Te Wananga o Aotearoa's Te Awamutu headquarters.
In 2017 she joined cousin Ana Morrison ( Our People, September 2, 2017 ) at Toi Ohomai as a strategic partnership manager. When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (the Duke and Duchess of Sussex) visited Ōhinemutu last year the cousins draped them with the korowai (cloaks) Ngāti Whakaue presented them with.
Kahurangi's Toi Ohomai appointment was interrupted when she again became hapū. Daughter Hinemanawanui Milne arrived a little over a year ago.
"She was born at home with a Ngāti Rangiwewehi CD playing in the background, Atareta cut the cord, she's the best big sister."
Māori music's been paramount in Kahurangi's major life events. When she and Chey married at Tamatekapua wharenui (Te Arawa's premier meeting house) it was to the strains of her mother's signature song Hine e Hine. Naturally the service was in te reo Māori.
Of the years to come: "Chey and I are deeply committed to our whānau, our company and its on-going success, at the same time I am equally committed to te reo Māori and raising my two strong Māori girls with my awesome Tai Tokerau husband. I am so grateful for the mother I had, she inspired me to be the best mother I can be to them and my father who continues to nurture and guide me."
KAHURANGI MILNE (NEE MAXWELL):
Born: Rotorua, 1987.
Education: Pukeroa Oruwhata Kohanga Reo, Rotorua Primary, Kaitao Intermediate, Western Heights High School.
Whanau: Husband Chey Milne, 2 daughters, father Trevor Maxwell, mother the late Atareta Maxwell. "More cousins than I can count."
Iwi affiliations: Ngati Whakaue, Ngati Rangiwewehi.
Interests: Whānau, te reo Maori. "Our business. I'm a foodie only eating healthy, yummy kai. I have been a vegan and am still red meat and dairy free. Getting to do the things we are passionate about."
On being a Maxwell-Morrison: "It has its moments, good and bad."
On Rotorua: "It is home."
Personal philosophy: "Be kind."