Ma¯ori taught to law firm em­ploy­ees

The Southland Times - - NEWS - DAVE NI­COLL

In an ef­fort to broaden their knowl­edge of Te Reo Ma¯ori, staff at Pre­ston Rus­sell Law have been tak­ing daily les­sons at the firm.

For Septem­ber, staff have been hav­ing daily les­sons at the firm which cover the ba­sics of Te Reo Ma¯ori.

It is led by one of its law grad­u­ates Ge­or­gia Wood­ward.

Ser­vices man­ager Chris­tine McLeod said for 15 min­utes a day staff at the firm have been learn­ing the ba­sics of Te Reo and have been en­cour­aged to use it in the of­fice.

While staff were build­ing their knowl­edge of Te Reo it was also about get­ting an in­sight into the cul­ture that was part of our na­tional iden­tity, McLeod said.

‘‘We [have been] learn­ing the days of the week.’’

It was a real as­set hav­ing two Te Reo Ma¯ori speak­ers at the firm, McLeod said.

Wood­ward said she started the classes af­ter see­ing a real in­ter­est from her co-work­ers.

Te Reo Ma¯ori was some­thing she wanted to be nor­malised in so­ci­ety ev­ery­where, she said.

The classes were kept fairly sim­ple and were mostly fo­cussed on try­ing to per­fect pro­nun­ci­a­tion for ev­ery­day words.

‘‘They’re learn­ing so quickly I don’t know what I’m go­ing to be teach­ing them next week be­cause they’re pick­ing up the ba­sics so well.’’

Along with hold­ing a first-class honours de­gree in Law, Wood­ward also had a Bach­e­lor of Arts ma­jor­ing in Te Reo Ma¯ori from the Univer­sity of Waikato.

She has been learn­ing lan­guage for nine years.

‘‘I just do it for the love of it. I the love it so much that peo­ple are re­ally re­spon­sive to the way that I’m speak­ing about it and I’m re­ally en­thu­si­as­tic which helps.’’

Born and raised in the Waikato she has ties to Nga¯i Tahu ki Muri­hiku so in mov­ing to River­ton, where she now lives, Wood­ward said she had re­turned to her an­ces­tor’s grounds.

As for us­ing it in her ev­ery­day work, she said there had been a few law changes re­cently that re­quired doc­u­ments to be filed in the high court that have the head­ing both in English and Ma¯ori.

‘‘I feel like New Zealand, and es­pe­cially the law, is go­ing to be in­cor­po­rat­ing Ma¯ori a lot more. So it’s good for us here to have a base in Ma¯ori lan­guage knowl­edge be­cause more and more of the law will be in­cor­po­rat­ing [it]‘‘ Three South­land schools will be tak­ing part in the South­land Sec­ondary Schools Jazz Fest on Septem­ber 22. Over­all, seven schools will per­form on the night. The pre­miere com­pe­ti­tion for mu­si­cians in sec­ondary schools will be held at As­cot Park Ho­tel at 7pm.

Fel­low­ship awarded

Cen­tral Otago writer Jil­lian Sul­li­van has been awarded the New Zealand So­ci­ety of Au­thors Peter & Dianne Beat­son Fel­low­ship 2017. She will use the $7000 fel­low­ship to work on a col­lec­tion of cre­ative non-fic­tion es­says.

JOHN HAWKINS/STUFF 634837391

Law grad­u­ate Ge­or­gia Wood­ward has been run­ning daily Te Reo tu­to­ri­als through­out Septem­ber for staff at Pre­ston Rus­sell Law.

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