Māori Language Moment champions

Issue: Volume 99, Number 20

Posted: 9 December 2020
Reference #: 1HAFPe

Students at Upper Hutt School were rewarded for their efforts in participating in Te Wā Tuku Reo Māori | Māori Language Moment - the largest Māori language event in history which saw more than one million people take part.

Upper Hutt School students were delighted to be presented with a giant neon Hei Tiki lamp, in acknowledgement of their mahi during this year’s Māori Language Moment(external link), a key initiative organised by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori for this year’s Te Wiki o te reo Māori | Māori Language Week.

The school got more than 100 other organisations to sign up to the Moment.

Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori Chief Executive Ngahiwi Apanui was there to present to the award. “We were touched to see that Upper Hutt School won the prize for getting the most sign ups to our moment. They beat out the biggest companies and departments. It is wonderful because these tamariki are the future of te reo and they are already language champions.”

Kaiako Shanice Tredrea was delighted to see their school acknowledged. “He hōnore tēnei kia whai tō mātou kura a Te Awakairangi i tēnei taonga e hakamana ana i te Wiki o te reo Māori. E mōhio ana mātou he tino taonga te reo Māori ki a Aotearoa, nō reira kia kaha tātou katoa ki te kōrero i te reo kia kore e ngaro, “rite ki te Huia, ka ngaro, pēra ki te Moa ka ngaro”. (It is an honour for our school to be recognised for te Wiki o te reo Māori. We understand how important te reo is within New Zealand and we encourage people to speak so that it doesn’t become lost like the Huia and Moa.)

“Māori Language Moment was a big deal for our school as it was the first time we had taught our school haka on a large scale. Prior to this it was only taught to our senior students. It was fantastic to see seniors practising tuakana-teina with our juniors in order to teach kupu and actions. The pride that our seniors felt when seeing their junior buddies performing the haka was heart-warming. To be able to perform as a whole school under our oak tree, which is a significant part of our school, was amazing. To be able to share this experience with our whānau and community, was even better. We had parents talking about how their children practised with enthusiasm at home and took every opportunity to perform in front of family,” says Shanice.

This year, Upper Hutt School has joined a number of schools in the Kura Ahurea programme, which assists schools in building a progression of knowledge surrounding sentence structures, tikanga and Māori creation stories. This programme has enabled teachers a starting point to build their knowledge alongside students, and from this, tamariki are beginning to form and understand simple sentences.

“It has been a great opportunity to kōrero and collaborate with other kaiako and schools that are on the same learning journey,” says Shanice.

Over the past two years, Upper Hutt School students have also been increasing their knowledge of phrases through the creation of weekly kīwaha videos, which are then shared with whānau as a way of celebrating and reinforcing the use of reo at home.

Tumuaki Jo Grant says she’s pleased to see progress. “For too long in education we have been having the same conversation about needing to do more.

“It's exciting to see the recent changes made to the Education and Training Act and every school's responsibility to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi with a focus on te reo, tikanga Māori and local history.

“I believe, that as school leaders we need to make a commitment to ourselves, our tamariki and our communities that we will honour our professional and moral obligation to meeting the Crown's Strategy for Māori Language Revitalisation 2018 - 2023- Mahi Karauna. This commitment will benefit every New Zealander, our country and honour the rightful place of Māori in New Zealand.

Tamariki on te reo

Upper Hutt School students share their experience of learning and using te reo Māori.

At school we have kapa practise and now we’re getting other people involved in that. The whole school is being taught te reo Māori and that involves waiata and activities. Teachers are now reading books in te reo Māori. My favourite thing that we have done was teaching the juniors. Next year, Kapa Haka leadership roles will be passed on to Year 5s. I hope the korowai is passed onto me and I become a leader. Te Kohe Tuhaka-Judd, 10

We’ve been learning to write words in Māori. We’ve also had kīwaha videos. I like them because they’re funny. I like when I see my friends in them. I’ve learnt lots of new words. My teacher uses kaua e hoihoi a lot, it’s funny. I like to say it too because sometimes my friends are noisy. Saanvi Tewari, 6

Miss T has taught us to share our pepeha. I got information from my parents about where I’m from. I found out that Baiyun is my maunga and Pearl River is my awa. I think knowing your pepeha is important because it helps people to connect to each other. I’ve memorised it and use it when I introduce myself or do a presentation. Becky Cho, 10

I’m in junior kapa haka, we’ve been learning the school haka. We had some seniors come and teach us. I liked it because the boys were really impressive and had good expressions. I got a little bit scared at first because it was really loud but now I want to have a go. I have been practicing at home with my older sister. I’m going to be in senior kapa haka next year. Awa Wiringi, 7

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 9:15 am, 9 December 2020

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