More students turn on to te reo courses
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.