An idea to help tauira use te reo Māori in everyday life is giving New Plymouth café customers a shot (or a double shot) at improving their language skills while they enjoy their morning fix.
Each Monday since June the city’s Café Green Door has been hosting Kapu Kōrero, where customers are encouraged to order their coffee in te reo Māori.
Te Ara Reo Māori level 4 tauira and barista Luke Millard says kaiako Stacey Glassie came up with the idea and the café was an ideal place to try it out.
“It’s a prime location, a great venue for this sort of thing,” he says.
The pair came up with a list of kupu to help customers place their orders and Luke says the initiative has proved popular with tauira and the general public alike.
“We’ve had no negative feedback at all, everyone has been really positive. Customers come in and recognise the significance of it. A lot of people are a bit shy or a bit nervous but pretty soon they give it a go and the kupu start flowing.”
He says the idea has also helped improve his own te reo, even if it is within the context of a café setting.
“Everything is sort of within the parameters of the café but we’re hoping to bring a few more sentence structures in there and things like that. I'll do my study and I'll go to my classes but then when it comes to actually applying it you really need to start nursing it and bringing it out in everyday things. We need to create platforms to do that, really, so hopefully this is one of many little projects to help encourage that.”
When Kapu Kōrero began he says it was mainly other tauira who took part but it has since grown to include tauira from other programmes and other tertiary institutes, along with increasing numbers of the general public.
“At the start we got the tauira from our classes, 80 odd students, and started with that to see what sort of attendance we’d get. Some days there were half a dozen people, other days there’s 20-25. Now we’ve opened it up to everyone and pushed it on the radio, Te Korimako o Taranaki, and made posters. We’ve opened it up to other courses too, basically anyone who wants to have a go.”
The initiative has also received some timely publicity from recent media coverage from RadioNZ and the Taranaki Daily News.
“It needed the boost from the media coverage, it had stagnated a bit so we’re hoping to continues to grow from here.”
So next time you’re in Taranaki and hanging out for pango poto, tiakarete wera or even a kaputī, call into Te Tatau Pounamu.