Wānanga celebrates their Māori sign language graduates

By Mānia Clarke

Nearly 4,000 students from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa will graduate over the next 3 days including the wānangas only Māori sign language cohort who received their certificates today.

Its applause all round for Daphne Mika, principal of Te Kura Kaupapa o Manurewa, and her fellow students who are graduating with their Kāwai Raupapa Certificate in Māori Sign language today.

“Because we have quite a few hearing impaired children, who are enrolled at our school, some with hearing aids, our teacher aides and teachers decided we should go and learn sign language, says Ms. Mika.

The course is only 18 weeks long, but Daphne says the hearing impaired have many challenges.

“They have their own culture, but it's difficult for them to go into businesses, to get help or support, like hospitals and other services like that.”

The course was first introduced to the TWOA in 2010 by Richard Peri.  But it was re-introduced last year.

Mr. Peri, the course teacher says, “It's been good!  It's been six years, a long time yes.  My teacher teaches me and I teach the Māori Language to the deaf community, it's been great.”

And he hopes the course will grow.

Ms. Mika says, “I think in the future, we will be in the world of the hearing impaired, embracing their issues and way of life.”