He pou reo, he pou mātauranga a Tā Toby Curtis e tangihia ana

Tā Toby Curtis, kaumātua o Te Arawa / Kōnae

Ko te kaumātua matawhāura, pou mātauranga hoki, ko Tā Toby Curtis (Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Rongomai, Te Arawa) i āio atu ki te moe tē ohongia, i tōna kāinga i Rotoiti i tēnei ata, e 83 ōna tau.

Mai anō a Curtis e hāpai ana i te reo Māori, i te mātauranga Māori hoki. I ngā tau 16 nei, koia hoki te hea o Te Arawa Lakes Trust, nō te Āperira i tēnei tau noa ia ka rihaina.

He wā hoki i tū ai a Tā Toby hei tumuaki tuarua o Te Kura Akoranga o Tāmaki Makaurau, hei tumuaki tuarua hoki i Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makaurau.

Nāna rā te reo Māori i hāpai ake hei arawhiti nui whakaharahara e hono atu ai te Māori ki ngā tūpuna, ki ngā whakapapa hoki, ā, e pakari ake ai te māramatanga a tauiwi ki te ao Māori.

Nāna hoki te totohe i tohe, ko te reo te iho hei rongoā i ngā raru ohapori pērā i te noho mauhere, i te noho pōhara e nōhia nuitia ana e te Māori, nā ngā pānga tuku iho o te tāmitanga a tauiwi.

"When our kids are taught te reo, we don't have this,” te kī a Curtis i te tau 2018.

Te reo 'life-changing'

Nō tana akoranga reo Māori tuatahi i tōna tau reanga tuarima i Te Kura Māori o Hato Petera, i tahuri te ao o Curtis.

“I couldn't stop learning. It was our opportunity to learn about ourselves and man, we couldn’t stop learning, and started to enjoy other subjects too,” tāna i whakapuaki mai i tēnei tau.

“We started to develop as a person. What is it about te reo that does this to a Māori where English doesn’t? Don’t get me wrong, English is a lovely language, but it didn’t do anything for me as a Māori,” hei tāna.

I āta kōrero hoki a Curtis mō ngā hua ka puta i te rūmaki reo Māori i ēnei rā, he rerekē ake i ō te wā ki a ia, ki ōna mātua hoki.    

“The generation that was discouraged from speaking Māori.”

“We internalised that being Māori was of no value, that our culture and lifestyle was not good for us and the future.”

Rūmaki Reo 

Nā Curtis i whakapūmau te hiranga o ngā kura rūmaki reo mā te Māori, i tana ekenga hei hea o Ngā Kura ā-Iwi o Aotearoa i te tau 2012.

I tohua ia ki te kaunihera o Te Wānanga o Aotearoa anō hoki.

I te tau 2014, i whakamānawatia a Curtis ki te tohu Tā mō āna mahi nui i te ao mātauranga.

Tua atu i te mātauranga, i tākaro whutupaoro hoki ia, ka eke ki ngā taumata ā rohe o Manukau Whānui, o Te Waiariki anō hoki.

Māramatanga ā ahurea, tētahi ki te tētahi 

I tana uiuinga whakamutunga i te Āperira, nā Curtis te kōrero ki a Stuff, i wawatahia e ia, he wā ka tutuki ngā whāinga a te Māori, a te Pākeha anō hoki, mā te māramatanga, tētahi ki te tētahi. 

“They don’t understand and speak te reo, how we think culturally and what we prefer as a future for coming generations.

I kōrero anō ia mō tāna i kite ake i ēnei rā, he kōrero pākehā te katoa o ngāi Māori, he tika hoki te whakahua i te kupu pākehā, ā, ko tāna i tūmanako ai, ā tōna wā ka taea te kī atu, he kōrero Māori hoki a tauiwi.

“I’m looking forward to the day when all Pākehā, children and adults, can say every Māori word correctly,” hei tāna.

Ka takoto a Tā Toby ki tōna whare, ki waenga pū i tōna whānau ake, i mua i tana hikitanga atu ki tōna marae, ki Rākeiao, i Tapuaekura, Rotoiti hei te 10 i te ata o te Paraire, te 19 o Ākuhata.

Ko te whānau Curtis e rāhiri atu ana ki te katoa ka hiahia whakamānawa i te taonga o te mate i Rākeiao. Ko te rā nehu ka tohua ā tōna wā.

Public Interest Journalism, funded through NZ On Air