Kai and te reo with Maketū MasterChef sisters

By Herewini Waikato

Kasey Te Awa-Bird and Karena Bird from small Bay of Plenty ocean village Maketū are taking their passion for kai and Te Reo Māori online.

 In celebration of Mahuru Māori (Māori language month) the two sisters have been doing their best to speak as much Māori as they can while cooking delicious meals.

Today the former champion Masterchefs prepared a Maketū Ikamata dish using Kasey’s husband's catch of the day - a snapper caught only a stone's throw from her home in beautiful Maketū.

The technology they used today to reach the masses was Facebook where they have a very large following to share their food experiences and the Māori language. “We teach how to cook. But teaching cooking in the Māori language is something new for us ,” Kasey says. “Words like family, fish, lemon, basic words but they are good as a base of learning,” Karena says.

“We started off knowing next to nothing. Today it is better but we are still learning”- Kasey Te Awa- Bird.

Kasey and Karena have been learning the Māori language for three years. But a Māori language teacher challenged them: “What will you do now for the Māori language?”

Now they’re promoting the language with their culinary skills.

Karena says the journey to learning Te Reo Māori is difficult and finding time is the biggest challenge, “but there is no better journey than learning the Māori language.”

The Bird family has welcomed the Māori language into their homes. It’s also getting ready to welcome a new addition to the family.

Kasey is pregnant and due to give birth next month. “This will be our whānau’s first grandchild, and we want to bring this treasure up in the Māori language,” Karena says.

Kasey: “It is great that I am about to give birth now as I am capable of speaking Māori. I want to be able to teach my child our Māori language.”

As Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori and Mahuru Māori continues this week the sisters say they are just happy to continue cooking, teaching dishes online in Te Reo Māori and are definitely looking forward to meeting the whānau’s new baby next month.