Who wants to be an outsider at a party? Noone. Sadly, people in Aotearoa New Zealand who have not had access to (or interest in) Te Reo have become outsiders to Māori language and culture. This means them not having the avenue to what is an exciting aspect of being a New Zealander living on this land. And I’m guessing that you, dear reader, don’t want to be – and you are not – one of those at the outsiders’ party.
Policy makers, educators, linguists and parents who know that languages are best learned early in life are addressing language teaching with innovation, inspiration and commitment. People who come to NZ to visit or to live are filling up the language classes and making connections that run deep into the social and cultural fabric of our land.
Some of our most generous Te Reo Māori leaders such as Sir Timoti Karetu have paved the way to create kohanga reo/language ‘nests’ for early childhood education, kura/schools, wānanga/training schools, and kāinga/home based resources or community learning classes for individuals and groups.
At the very start of my career post university, I contributed to a number of initiatives such as visiting Kohanga – language learning nests for pre-schoolers, being present at ceremonies to tautoko/support Te Māori exhibition ‘returning’ to NZ, and taking part in hui/ meetings where all manner of discussions were taking place around language revitalisation.
These amazing initiatives have gathered force all around our country, and overseas, and are resulting in growing numbers of people learning and using Te Reo, at all ages. Scotty Morrison spoke of his optimism about the growth of Te Reo (you can watch the clip here).
It would be SUCH a shame for anyone to miss out on the deep connection to the land and our history that Te Reo offers to every New Zealander and every visitor.
I hope your reo learning is inspiring you in so many different ways, and that you are loving being at this nationwide celebratory ‘party’ speaking te reo Māori.
Mauri ora Cxx