Māori language immersion student makes NZ Spelling Competition

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Māori language immersion student Isabella Ashby (Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara) will compete in the New Zealand Spelling Bee final 2017 this weekend. She won her place out of a field of hundreds of students, from more than 100 secondary schools and colleges around New Zealand.

"I'm eager to use those words because some emotions, some things can't be depicted if you don't know these new words."

Fourteen-year-old Isabella Ashby is an avid reader. She enjoys the pressure of competition to further her language ability.

“If you sit an exam you know your own level, but competition against others shows where you stand against the rest of the world.”

A year 10 student in the total Māori language immersion unit at Western Springs College, she says knowing Te Reo Māori fosters a desire to learn.

"By knowing Te Reo Māori you learn to pronounce words phonetically however you also learn to love all languages and all cultures."

She says that a similar competition could help further interests amongst youth.

"A competition for the explanations of the word, so we should compete to know the origins of the words and how they were created."

The National Spelling Bee competition will be held in Wellington on Saturday the 28th October.