Beginners take up Mahuru Māori reo challenge

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

A record of 600 people have registered for Mahuru Māori this month. Pioneer Paraone Gloyne, initiated the idea four years ago challenging participants to speak Te Reo only during September.

Now beginners are also rising to the challenge. 

Bridget Ratima and Taegan Baxter may only be starting their reo Māori journey, but they're giving Mahuru Māori a go.

"It was really hard to actually convince myself to join Mahuru Māori." says Ratima.

She says, "but after talking with people and it's really good that I've got great support around here, like everyone to help me with learning new kupu." 

"The goal of Mahuru Māori being to you know normalise speaking Te Reo," said Baxter.

She says, "I think it's important for Pākehā people as well to start as well to try and learn that and incorporate that into language, so yeah that's my goal but at a very beginner level."

They've both chosen to speak Māori one day each week this month.

"I actually want to learn new kupu and actually learning about my tikanga and everything," said Ratima.

"I grew up in Te Awamutu and we always knew that Te Wānanga o Aotearoa was here and I think that in school we could be better at encouraging Te Reo in everyday language," said Baxter.

Gloyne initiated the reo challenge as a personal social experiment in 2014 as a way of broadcasting te reo, and normalising it in every day dealings. 

It started with two participants and now the number has grown to more than 600 of both proficient speakers and beginners.

"Be patient," said Gloyne.

He says, "Yes, persevere with people you speak to, be patient with yourself also, because you may experience emotions you haven't felt before, such as embarrassment for that person or people who don't speak Māori."

A new feature are Mahuru Māori frames and emojos for social media.

Baxter plans to enrol in Te Reo classes and Ratima aims to expand in conversational Māori.