Our Te Wiki o te Reo Māori moment

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As the nation celebrates Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language week), waiata can be heard coming from the Ngāmotu and Te Hāwera campuses at WITT as ākonga (learners) and kaimahi (staff members) participate in the Māori Language Moment. This year, Te Kura Matatini o Taranaki has chosen to shine a spotlight on a gathering to sing Matatini, which has become the anthem of the kura.

Written by longstanding kaimahi, Bernie Edwards (Ngāpuhi) and Tuari Reweti (Ngāti Maniapoto), the waiata focuses on learning for everyone from the past, to the present and on to the future, and is a popular choice with ākonga and kaimahi, who have been having waiata sessions at the kura in the lead up to the Māori Language Moment.

WITT Te Pūkenga Kaiako Maatakiri Rapira (Ngā Ruahine, Te Ātiawa, Taranaki, Te Rarawa) teaches Level 1 to Level 3 te reo Māori classes at Te Kura Matatini, and, says, “It’s a positive way to celebrate who we are as Māori, and who we aspire to be as a bi-cultural, bi-lingual nation by coming together to sing a waiata”.

The purpose of the Māori Language Moment is to encourage whānau, hapū, iwi and communities at home and overseas reach the target of one million speakers of te reo Māori by 2040. 

Maatakiri is passionate about te reo Māori at home, in the community and in education, and has been sharing her passion for te reo Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand and in Australia over the past 25 years. Over that time, she has seen Te Wiki o te Reo Māori grow from a one-day event to a widely celebrated week-long event for everyone here and overseas who connect to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Learning te reo Māori as a second language learner and as a mature-aged student in 1998 through Te Wānanga Māori, Taranaki Polytechnic, Maatakiri has witnessed the incredible growth of te reo Māori learners and speakers.

“Returning home after 18-years in Australia, the change was phenomenal,” she adds.

This year Aotearoa New Zealand celebrates 36 years of te reo Māori as an official language.

At WITT we have more than 150 ākonga starting their own te reo journey this year. People’s ‘whys’ are as varied as the ākonga that make up this year’s New Zealand Certificate in Te Reo Māori (Rumaki Reo Rua) Level 1.

Koshie Ritchie (Te Arawa) joined the Level 1 programme to keep up with her four mokopuna (grandchildren) who range in age from rua (two) to ono (six).

She says note taking is key and she has rakau (coloured sticks) at home to practise what she learns each week.

“The kaiako are great, they all have different teaching styles and we learn with a great group of people, it’s starting to feel like whānau,” she says.

Meanwhile, Ben Harrowfield is motivated to deepen his understanding of te reo Māori so he is more confident in different settings to speak and understand what is being said.  As a pastor at City Life Church, Ben is also driven to be intentional about biculturalism. “I don’t want to be token in my attempts of te reo Māori.”

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is an annual campaign promoting te reo Māori as the language of, and belonging to Aotearoa New Zealand. The theme of Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori – making the language stronger - continues this year. At WITT, kaimahi and ākonga have a week-long series of Māori language events to take part in, culminating with the Māori Language Moment.


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