Bilin­gual stu­dents talk­ing the te reo talk


Be­ing bilin­gual in English and Maori is pay­ing off for stu­dents at Te Kura Maori o Porirua as they rep­re­sent the Welling­ton re­gion on the na­tional stage.

Af­ter win­ning the Nga Manu Ko­rero re­gional speech com­pe­ti­tion in Au­gust, Te Paea Te Tana, 14, is off to New Ply­mouth this month to rep­re­sent her Kura at the na­tional con­test.

The idea be­hind the lon­grun­ning com­pe­ti­tion is to en­cour­age stu­dents to show­case their oral lit­er­acy skills in English and te reo Maori through pre­pared and im­promptu speeches.

‘‘It’s cool to know two lan­guages – it brings out a con­fi­dence in me, es­pe­cially with the op­por­tu­nity to speak in front of an au­di­ence,’’ Te Paea said.

‘‘You can speak your mind and know what you are say­ing is valu­able.’’

With the com­pe­ti­tion loom­ing for Te Paea, her class­mate Hi­tira’a Ma­hana Ta­hau-Hodges, 14, who com­peted last year, had been on hand to of­fer some first­hand ad­vice

‘‘Be con­fi­dent in your­self, don’t think about the com­pe­ti­tion side too much, don’t worry about the plac­ing – we will still be proud of you.’’

Hi­tira’a won the Sir Turi Car­roll English tro­phy at the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion last year.

This con­test com­mem­o­rates the late Sir Turi Car­roll, a revered Kahun­gunu leader who stood firmly in both the English and Maori worlds.

Hi­tira’a said it had taken a lot of hard work to get ready for the com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘I had to pri­ori­tise my spare time to prop­erly pre­pare for my cho­sen topic ... It takes a lot of time to write, mem­o­rise, re­hearse and tweak your speech.’’

Hi­tira’a wished Te Paea all the best, and had some fi­nal hints: ’’The main point of Nga Manu Ko­rero is to speak up and in­spire peo­ple to do the same. Oh, and don’t look at the judges.’’

The Nga Manu Ko­rero na­tional com­pe­ti­tion will be held from Septem­ber 20-22 in New Ply­mouth.

Te Kura Maori o Porirua stu­dent Te Paea Te Tana (left) will rep­re­sent Welling­ton at na­tional sec­ondary school speech com­pe­ti­tions in New Ply­mouth. Her class­mate Hi­tira’a Ma­hana Ta­hau-Hodges (right) took part last year.

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