Tanya’s year of studying Te Reo Maori

Learning together: Kohine, Tanya and Robin preparing a joint slide show


Nga mihi matakuikui ki a koutou,

I have just emerged from a year-long immersion course in Te Ara Reo Maori at the Lincoln Road campus of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, exhausted and elated, appreciative of my new understandings, skills and inspiration. I’ve been immersed in, but also “on the edge of”another way of seeing the world, as a retired 71-year-old lesbian Pakeha amongst two dozen Maori whānau members ranging from 6 months old to 76-year-old kaumatua, from many different backgrounds.

Our inspiration for hanging in when the course became too challenging was our main pouako, Maria-Pare Te Whiu from Tai Tokerau- a passionate, warm, funny, articulate, down-to-earth linguist and beautiful singer, who urged us on every night.  Maria-Pare, ably assisted by Greg, exemplified at its best TWOA’s holistic approach to learning, which I loved – each week in our two 3-hour classes we had a mix of karakia, waiata, games, Maori tai chi, impromptu discussions, group work, debates, mihimihi, whanaungatanga, assessments, grammar, homework and food – and received a bundle of new written and oral resources.  In addition, we had four 1-day Wānanga and two 3-day Nohonga, one at Umupuia Marae and the other at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Kōtuku, Rānui.

Maori tai chi on Umupuia Beach at our 3-day marae Nohonga




Our course culminated in each of us having to present a 20-minute seminar at the end of November , in Te Reo, on the topic “He aha o whakakitenga mo ngā uri whakaheke?” (What are your dreams for future generations?) .  

Mine were as follows:

  • TE HUA PARAKORE   (that every child learns to grow organic food)
  • TE MANA WĀHINE     (that violence stops and women and children are uplifted)
  • TE REO RANGATIRA  (that every child learns te reo Maori)

and I finished my presentation with this whakatauākī from Te Puea Herangi:



(If I dream alone, it is only my dream; but if we share a dream, together we can make it happen)

The challenge for us all now is how to keep moving forward with Te Reo into the future…

I strongly recommend Te Wānanga o Aotearoa courses, which are widely available throughout Aotearoa:  https://www.twoa.ac.nz/  Courses and resources are free. 

And of course we are all very lucky to have so many resources available online and on air through : Radio Waatea – AM 603:  http://www.waateanews.com/  ; Maori Television: www.maoritelevision.com (Chanel 5 on Freeview,  and Te Reo Maori: Chanel 15)



  1. Marilyn Scott says

    Ka pai Tanya. Inspiring! One of my goals in the next 5 years – To learn Te Reo Maori

  2. Sylvia Bagnall says

    Congratulations Tanya, I have loved doing the TWOA courses Mauriora and Te papa tikanga, but although I’ve done various courses in te reo I find it all slips away from my ancient brain now.I am sure immersion is the thing, but you have to use the language daily to keep it mainly. I still can listen!

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.