Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE -

it at high school but didn’t pur­sue it se­ri­ously un­til she took it up in 2007 as part of a bach­e­lor of Maori de­vel­op­ment at AUT.

By 2009 she’d started as­sist­ing on lan­guage classes and went on to study a masters of arts and Maori de­vel­op­ment.

Kelly felt com­pelled to hone his lan­guage skills.

‘‘There was just a feel­ing of re­spon­si­bil­ity that you need to learn your lan­guage,’’ the 26-yearold says.

At univer­sity Cow­ell fell in love with the lan­guage.

‘‘I guess it’s a feel­ing that can’t re­ally be iden­ti­fied un­til you do start learn­ing it. Then you re­alise that was what was miss­ing. For me it was about my big­ger jour­ney of find­ing out who I was.’’

Be­com­ing a teacher was al­ways a goal for Kelly.

’’I just thought I wanted to help other peo­ple, like how peo­ple have helped me in my jour­ney. That’s where I’ve al­ways had the most sup­port, from my lan­guage teach­ers.’’

The num­ber of flu­ent speak­ers might mean the lan­guage is still en­dan­gered but Kelly is op­ti­mistic the sit­u­a­tion will im­prove.

‘‘My first cousin and I are the only speak­ers in two gen­er­a­tions, which shows a lot of our whanau aren’t in­ter­ested.

‘‘But those that do learn en­cour­age oth­ers. It is hope­ful and I can’t ever see the lan­guage dy­ing.’’

In­creased un­der­stand­ing: AUT lec­tur­ers Hemi Kelly and Jamie Cow­ell say study­ing Maori gives an in­sight into the Maori world view.

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