Scholarship recipients on a mission to normalise Maōri

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

In a first, three recipients will receive the Mona and Sonny Riini Scholarship under Auckland University's Te Huarahi Māori Reo Teaching degree. Mindful of this month's Mahuru Māori challenge to speak Māori all the time, the young recipients are keen to normalise the language in both Māori-medium and mainstream schools.

Jordan Kaie is keen to one day use his skills to normalise the language in mainstream schools.

“When we are in mainstream schools, the majority of the children there have little knowledge of the language, so, we want the Māori language to be heard everywhere.”

He and his co-student reo Māori teachers are recipients of a scholarship this year.  They are all passionate to have the language heard everywhere.

Fellow student Blanche Saua says, “I want to teach in a Māori-medium school because I want to speak Māori every day.”

Horowaitai Roberts-Tuahine says, “Don't be embarrassed to speak.  Māori are really hesitant to speak Māori, lest they make a mistake, and get reprimanded.”

The scholarship was established 19 years ago, and named after the first kaumātua of Te Huarahi Māori teaching degree, Sonny Riini, after his passing and his wife, when she passed, to support second-year students.

Director of Māori Medium Education Hemi Dale says, “The most important thing is the knowledge and skills they have will be passed onto our children and grandchildren they teach.” 

All three will look to teach in Auckland at the completion of their degree next year.