Whirikoka-Pākihikura valedictorian Jodi Porter’s quest to be fluent in te reo Māori has been a rewarding 10-year-journey.
Jodi’s love affair with the Māori language began in 2004 when she enrolled on her first Te Ara Reo Māori course.
She remembers being a “bright eyed” tauira, brimming with excitement, as she took the first steps on her journey to bilingualism with the wānanga.
The 32-year-old has completed all 10 te reo, marae me ngā tikanga Māori programmes on offer at the Ōpōtiki site.
Although her te reo Māori studies at the Ōpōtiki site have come to an end after graduating in Te Pīnakitanga ki te reo Kairangi, the desire to further develop her reo, continues to burn.
“I don’t want my te reo Māori pathway to ever end. My reo has helped me to understand who I am, where I am from and what I stand for. It is my identity.”
With determination to succeed, Jodi completed a Bachelor of Health Science and majored in Māori Health, and then went on to complete a Master’s degree in Public Health at Massey University while studying te reo Māori with the wānanga at the same time.
She says te reo has opened her eyes to a deeper Māori world perspective which is enhancing her doctoral studies in Public Health and life in general.
During her valedictorian speech at Waiaua Marae, Ōpōtiki, Jodi acknowledged the many people who have helped her to achieve academic success through the wānanga especially her father Te Wheki Porter, a kaiako for noho marae-based programmes at the Pākihikura site.
The proud Whakatōhea, Ngāi Tai, Te Whānaua Apanui and Ngāti Porou descendant encourages those learning te reo to never give up.
“Have a love for your reo, and let that permeate through all aspects of your life. Let it become a way of thinking, so it can fulfil you spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
“Ko te reo kia tika, ko te reo kia rere, ko te reo kia Māori.”
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