Te reo, tikanga for tamariki across the ditch

By Regan Paranihi

Te Waikamihi Korohina-Ormsby (Te Arawa, Ngāti Porou) is taking te reo and Māori performing arts into playcentres across Queensland, Australia in the hope of keeping Māori customs alive for tamariki living abroad. 

"Most of the families that live here, have been living here for years and have lost that connection," says Korohina-Ormsby.

"There are many Māori here, therefore many Māori children have lost that connection to their home and what I am doing is going to various places here to reconnect them as well as trying to strengthen that connection."

With increasing numbers of Māori living in Queensland comes a growing desire among many parents to maintain a sense of identity in their tamariki far from home.

"We will be communicating, singing, learning poi, learning titi tōrea and tī rākau as well as incorporating the work of Hinerēhia and Tānerore (Māori performing arts) into these children's [lives].

"I am very passionate about these things. I want to share my knowledge with Māori here."

She says the initiative is all about retaining the Māori worldview.

"My main goal is for these families and these children to go back home and know what to do on the marae, that they know te reo Māori and Māoridom so that they can live comfortably in that world."

Mokotini will be delivered in four playcentres across Queensland, but Korohina-Ormsby hopes the programme will eventually expand across the whole of Australia.