Kiwi expat uses social media to maintain her reo

By Talisa Kupenga

A yearning for home and her Māori culture has seen a kiwi expat seek help through social media to maintain her reo Māori and further develop her Japanese. Since moving to Japan more than three years ago Sarah McCann has felt isolated from her culture and hopes to connect with others in the world who feel the same.

A callout to engage anyone keen to help develop and maintain her language.

Sarah McCann says, "Since living here I have been learning Japanese but I miss my Reo Māori.

"I forgot the words for salad and lettuce and my cousin messaged me and said 'cuz! this is what they are' and that's what I want [this to achieve]."

Each day Sarah posts a short Māori and Japanese clip to her Instagram Story about her activities for the day. In an effort to practice and interact with others the clips do not have translations. She wants others to join in.

McCann says, "It's difficult here and I get a little emotional. Where I live it's kind of in the country in a small town so I'm actually the only foreigner in this little town. Three years on I'm still kind of a novelty. Going to the supermarket I still get stares. 

"Don't get me wrong I love it here, I love the people I love the whenua. But I get really mokemoke."

The clips will talk to Sarah's hobbies and give an insight to her life. Her partner Enson who is Japanese is also taking part.

McCann says, Sarah, "In our home we have trilingual post-it notes, with English, Japanese and Māori. I learn Japanese and he learns Māori."

For those who want to join Sarah's journey, you can connect with her on Instagram at s_j_mccann.