More students turn on to te reo cour­ses

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Maori Lan­guage Week lasts nine months for hun­dreds of peo­ple, thanks to a pop­u­lar course run by Els­don’s Te Wananga O Aotearoa.

The wananga’s no-fees Te Ara Reo Maori course has 500 en­rolled students in the Welling­ton re­gion, and many more na­tion­wide.

While it has been run­ning for 30 years, the course has seen a surge of pop­u­lar­ity in the past cou­ple years, tu­tor Kararaina McLean says.

‘‘Peo­ple are more in­ter­ested in learn­ing about the cul­ture now these days than in the 70s and 80s.’’

En­cour­ag­ing signs Maori is gain­ing pro­file are Maori Tele­vi­sion, the pop­u­lar­ity of Matariki, and the in­creas­ing use of macrons on long vow­els in Maori words, Ms McLean says.

In Porirua most of Ms McLean’s students are Maori re­claim­ing te reo, but in Welling­ton City she teaches mostly Pakeha and over­seas students.

The 36-week course is unique in the way it caters to all learn­ing styles, Ms McLean says.

Vo­cab­u­lary is spo­ken for au­di­tory learn­ers, de­scribed with ac­tions for kines­thetic learn­ers and pic­tures are drawn for visual learn­ers.

‘‘We make it re­ally fun,’’ she says.

Students spend a week­end at a marae to see Maori cul­ture in ac­tion and take part in ac­tiv­i­ties like weav­ing and poi.

The course caters for learn­ers from be­gin­ner level to near flu­ency. At the high lev­els students are taught el­e­gant speak­ing, the Maori equiv­a­lent of Shake­spearean English, Ms McLean says.

‘‘Maori lan­guage is po­etic and it uses a lot of metaphors,’’ she says.

Stu­dent Pae­gan Ed­mond­sTopia has just grad­u­ated from the wananga’s high­est level course and says her un­der­stand­ing of te reo and Maori cul­ture has be­come deep and nu­anced.

‘‘It’s like a cake – we’re not at the ic­ing, we’re at the bot­tom of the cake,’’ she says.

Many of her friends have seen her suc­cess and are now en­rolled in the wananga’s cour­ses.

There are still spa­ces on the Te Ara Reo Maori course which starts to­mor­row. To en­quire phone 237 7166. The course runs from 6pm till 9pm on Wed­nes­day nights.

Reo cham­pi­ons: Te Wananga O Aotearoa’s 36-week Maori course has gained a huge fol­low­ing in the Welling­ton re­gion, say tu­tor Kararaina McLean, stu­dent and ka­iawhina (class helper) Pae­gan Ed­monds-Topia and stu­dent ser­vices team leader Shane Brook­ing.

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