School’s wiki o te reo M¯aori
The bell rings and more than 330 excited kids flood the basketball court at West Rolleston Primary School (WRPS).
While their peers watch, two pupils and then two teachers stand proudly to recite their mihi before sharing a waiata with the school.
This wiki o te reo Ma¯ori (Ma¯ori Language Week), WRPS spent each afternoon celebrating both the reo and the culture.
Principal Sylvia Fidow said it was important to encourage the use of New Zealand’s first language and te wiki was a good chance to have some extra fun while doing so.
‘‘We’re not full immersion, but there’s a willingness to learn and we naturally integrate te reo into our classes,’’ Fidow said.
She said the school also offered extension Ma¯ ori language classes for more fluent pupils.
‘‘We’ve got some students from full Ma¯ ori immersion backgrounds, so we’re tried to make it work for them too.’’
Organised by whaea Rebecca Lambert and whaea Leigh Thrupp, the school’s wiki o te reo Ma¯ori activities ranged from extra reo classes, having a go at weaving harakeke (flax), stretching out with yoga and many other activities.
’’All the teachers are running a station, they’re putting in lots of effort,’’ Lambert said.
WRPS ambassadors Luke and Zavier, both 12, said they were enjoying the wiki o te reo Ma¯ ori experience at school.
‘‘It’s something different. Having assemblies every day is something we never do and the activities are fun,’’ Luke said.
Zavier said he liked Ma¯ori yoga best, its positions inspired by the old gods like Tane¯-Mahuta (god of the forest) or Ru¯ aumoko (god of earthquakes).
Of the two boys, only Zavier had so far recited his mihi to the school, but Luke said they both felt confident in using te reo.
As well as teaching and using reo Ma¯ori, the school had a weekly kapa haka group of around 100 pupils and held weekly groups devoted to other cultures as well.
The Pasifika group learned about the cultures, languages and arts of our pacific neighbours, while a weekly Chinese group taught pupils Mandarin.
Last week, the pupils in the Pasifika group learned about the Samoan language, song and dance while working on colourful squares to make a quilted tapa cloth.
West Rolleston Primary pupils play games with ra¯kau.