The passing of a highly regarded Māori language academic is being mourned. Professor John Moorfield passed away after a brief battle with cancer.

He was affectionately known as Te Murumāra.

For close to 50 years, Te Murumāra dedicated his career to the revitalisation of te reo.

He’s remembered as a pioneer who created initiatives like the first Māori medium undergraduate degree to more recent efforts developing Māori language digital resources.

He was the Pākeha from Te Kauwhata who could speak Māori.

Moorfield chose to attend St Stephen's School, instead of Whanganui Collegiate, because it was closer to home.

One of his teachers at Tipene was none other than Hoani Waititi.

His te reo Māori journey continued after school and after a number of teaching stints.

In 76 Te Murumāra, was shouldered tapped by Timoti Karetu to join Waikato University.

He developed Te Tohu Paetahi, the first ever Māori medium undergraduate degree.

Te Murumāra was at Waikato University for around 20 years, Otago for 10, and in recent years he's been at AUT.

All of this time has been dedicated to the revitalisation of te reo.

He saw digital convergence as an opportunity to spread and promote the teaching of te reo.

In 2010, his services to Māori language education were acknowledged with a QSO.

Te Muramāra will be sorely missed, but he leaves behind a legacy that will benefit many in future.