Celebrating Maori language
For many, Maori Language Week is about recognising and celebrating Maori culture in New Zealand. But for Central Normal School, based in Palmerston North, te reo Maori and Maori culture are woven into most aspects of their students’ learning.
Year 6 pupil La-Shae Te Whata, 11, speaks te reo in her classes each day and also at home.
‘‘I try and speak it as much as possible.’’
La-Shae and her friend Matariki Iwikau, 10, are able to hold a conversation in te reo and speak to their teachers.
Acting principal Jan Thomas said the school did not officially celebrate Maori Language Week because every week was like Maori Language Week.
The school has six bilingual classes and six teachers fluent in te reo.
‘‘We are 50 per cent Maori here, so we want all of our students to have that cultural inclusion and cultural awareness and education.
‘‘It’s just part and parcel of what we do here.’’
She said as role models for the children, it was important many of the teachers could speak fluent te reo and take part in training to upskill.
In May the school held a hangi for all of the children and recently also celebrated Matariki – the Maori New Year Festival.
She said the bilingual classes gave important skills to the children and gave them the chance to use te reo in an array of situations and everyday life.
She said a goal for the school was to increase the conversations held in te reo Maori between staff and students.
Pupil Sarah Green, 10, does not attend the bilingual classes but said she found it exciting being able to use Maori greetings, know the days of the week and Maori proverbs.
‘‘It’s cool to learn it and know how to say some of it.’’
Maori Language Week runs from Monday, July 4 to Sunday, July 10.
Celebrating Maori Language Week at Central Normal School, from left, Sarah Green, La-Shae Te Whata, Matariki Iwikau and Malaki Sorensen-Tufuga.