Māori 4 Grown Ups a hit with like-minded whānau

By Harata Brown

Learning te reo Māori from scratch can be a daunting task when you're an adult.  But a whānau-centred learning programme knows all too well that the survival of the language lies in the hands of whānau.

This weekend in Auckland, a group of like-minded people who are all passionate about the language met in an effort to discuss new and exciting ways of teaching and learning the language.  

As reporter Harata Brown found out, some of the solutions were simple and obvious.

As the sound of the Māori language is thrives both inside and outside of the classroom, participant Lily Fraser of Ngāi Tahu says, “Sometimes when you learn Māori, you delve into ancient words and their meanings.  But when a child is born the context changes and there are many unknown words.”

This is the second year Māori 4 Grown Ups has been delivered through noho wānanga by the Māori 4 Kids Inc.  Charity who focuses primarily on whānau-centred language learning.

Māori language teacher Hohepa Ramanui of Ngāpuhi says the objective is to normalise the personal use of the language and more.

“To use it (the language) in homes that further supports parents speaking Māori to their children,” says Ramanui.

Another participant, Wiremu Mato of Ngāti Porou says the programme also helps to think in a “Māori context”.

The Ratima-Edwards family travelled from the Taranaki region to Auckland especially to strengthen their language acquisition with other like-minded whānau.

Mihi Ratima of Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa says, “It is important to our family that our children grow up speaking Māori and that they are amongst other Māori speaking families.”  

Māori 4 Kids Inc hope to deliver a range of whānau-centered learning programmes aimed at all levels of language acquisition.