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.
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:
“I TE MOEMOEĀ AU, NĀKU ANAKE
I TE MOEMOEĀ TĀTOU, NĀ TĀTOU KATOA”
(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: //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: //www.waateanews.com/ ; Maori Television: www.maoritelevision.com (Chanel 5 on Freeview, and Te Reo Maori: Chanel 15)