Reflections on Te Reo Puāwai Māori

In May I began the CORE Education Te Reo Puāwai Māori course.  This course begins and ends with a full day face-to-face hui, and in between there are 10 weeks of online lessons, including weekly webinars.

We were encouraged to set and share our goals in the first couple of weeks.  These are the goals that I posted:

  1.  To embrace my mistakes and know that from them and with feedback and feedforward I improve my knowledge and understanding.
  2.  To begin to embed Te Reo Māori into everyday practice so that it becomes ‘this is what we do around here’
  3.  To be able to confidently and competently begin a workshop or presentation, or introduction, using Te Reo Māori

I thought these were pretty good but then I saw another participant share their goals and I was in awe of how they had articulated so simply what I was hoping to achieve:

  • To become confident saying my pēpeha
  • To increase my vocabulary and ability to participate in conversations in te reo Māori
  • To feel confident and competent using te reo Māori in more situations in our kura
  • To enjoy being a learner
  • To support my colleagues in their journey
  • To be a role model to others in our kura

One of the things that I worked really hard towards was being able to confidently and competently begin my keynote address at PENZ Conference in July, with a mihi.  With fantastic support via the tutors and participants on the online moodle, I believe that I did achieve this.  In preparing for this I learned that giving myself permission to take a pause, if needed, while delivering my mihi, was absolutely okay and a good way to calm the nerves.

Throughout the course I was extending my vocabulary, and I was particularly keen to do this with kupu that I use everyday.  Some new phrases that I have added to my kete are:

Ahiahi mārie – good afternoon

Kia pai tōu rā – Have a good day

Ka mau te wehi – Awesome! Excellent!

Menemene mai! – Smile at me!

I have learned and can confidently begin the day or hui with a karakia tīmatanga – Whakataka te hau – and I am working towards confidently saying the karakia whakamutunga.  This is another valuable addition to my kete.

Being a Physeder and working in a Physical Activity space it was also great to be taught a couple of new games that I will be able to use with tamariki and adult workshops alike.  One that I am going to call ‘Whitu’ as it involves a 7 count rhythm.  Another, that is a little bit more complicated but a lot of fun, is Takahia Paki.

During the timeframe of this course New Zealand celebrated Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.  I was privileged to be in Te Whanganui-a-Tara for, and take part in, the inaugural Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori hikoi.  I walked alongside tamariki and kaiako from Wainuiomata Intermediate, as well as several hundred others from kura and businesses alike that took part in the hikoi.  The haka performed by a collaboration of students from different kura, just as the hikoi approached Te Papa, left me with goose bumps.  It was a joy to see so many people celebrating Te Reo Māori and laying down the wero for all New Zealanders to nurture this taonga.


During Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori I also had the privilege of moderating #ldrchatnz Twitter chat, where we discussed ‘Tū Rangatira: Māori Medium Educational Leadership’, a powerful document that all leaders and kura can learn from.


So back to my goals… I have embraced and enjoyed being a learner; I have failed and learned from my mistakes, and I will continue to do so.  I have also experienced much success.  I feel that I am able to support others, and I believe that it is my personal and social responsibility to role model to whānau, friends and hoa mahi, the learning and use of Te Reo Māori.  My vocab is increasing and I am finding that I now also starting to take an interest and look more closely at sentence structure and the combinations of kupu.  This course introduced me to Kupu o te Rā – a word of the day service for Te Reo Māori. This will also be valuable in supporting my ongoing learning now that this course has finished.

I was recently given some questions and asked to reflect on PD that I personally had recently undertaken, and so I chose Te Reo Puāwai Māori:

What did you choose to ‘attend’ to?

I chose to attend to the bits that I can make a connection to – that I can see the relevance to me, my journey, my teaching and learning, my interactions with the world.  The bits that I felt were authentic to my time and circumstance.

What influenced your engagement?

The face-to-face at the start of the course was a massive ‘hook’ for me in terms of engagement.  Meeting Gemma (tutor) and getting to know her (and others) made me feel more confident and connected to the learning that was going to take place.  Having the opportunity to build these relationships, whanaungatanga, was really important to my learning journey.  It gave me confidence in the kaiako, and their ability to nurture and develop me as a learner of Te Reo Māori.  I felt valued as a learner.  Another factor that influenced my engagement was the ability to interact with the material in my own time and at my own pace.  The variation in the learning activities was great.  The accompanying resources were really valuable and being digital I have been able to store them for future ‘go to’.

What surprised, challenged and interested you?

Some of the digital tasks challenged me and in some cases these presented a bit of a barrier as I didn’t prioritise the time to learn what I needed to about the technology to complete the tasks.  I was surprised, I guess, at how much further ahead I was than I thought with my understanding and pronunciation.  But yet again my biggest challenge is learning things ‘off by heart’.  Constant use, both verbal and written, is really helping me to do this and I took heart in the advice to just tackle some key words and phrases that I could use often – again this was part of keeping it real and relevant.  The online discussion forum was really valuable in being able to ask questions and everyone demonstrated manaakitanga in how caring, considerate and supportive they were with their responses.  It was fantastic that often it was other learners who were able to provide knowledge and answers.  This concept of ako, reciprocal learning, is something that I value.  Even when I am in the position of being a learner first and foremost, I like to have the opportunity to interact, participate and contribute, and in doing so there may be instances where I have been able to ‘teach’ someone.

Why do you think you responded in the way that you did?

I think I have responded this way to this learning because I feel that I have broken through the ‘Pakeha paralysis’.  I feel strongly that as a New Zealander I have a huge responsibility to treasure Te Reo Māori and to ensure that it is a living language in Aotearoa.  If we as New Zealanders don’t speak Te Reo, nobody else will.

I would highly recommend this professional learning, not just for the content and the knowledge building, but for the way that it was presented; built on relationship, able to be personalised for each learner, interactive, ako.

Kia kaha koutou!


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