Teresa Kenny had been teaching for more than two decades but was still looking for new ways to get more te reo Māori into her classroom.
“I loved teaching and learning te reo with our tamariki in our reo rua (bilingual) unit at Koraunui School, but was always searching for ways to feed in more reo into our kura,” says Teresa (Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri/ Te Rōroa).
“Our tamariki and their whānau were ready to move into more immersion and we were aware of the need to develop our fluency and knowledge.”
Teresa, who grew up in Whanganui, got together with her kaiako whānau to brainstorm how they’d achieve their goal.
She’d studied te reo Māori with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa for 10 years and thought it best the whānau continue their reo journey there with Te Pīnakitanga ki te reo Kairangi, a 40-week programme for advanced te reo Māori speakers.
The Level 7 programme guides tauira (students) towards fluency and the level of sophistication and eloquence used in karanga and whaikōrero.
Tauira learn formal and informal language subtleties as they become bearers of cultural knowledge for their whānau, hapū and iwi.
The decision to study Te Pīnakitanga ki te reo Kairangi developed whānau confidence and fluency in te reo Māori, says Teresa.
“It also enabled me to have a deeper connection to te ao Māori. Often, we would teach our tamariki what we had just learned in class the night before. This meant we would be using our new learning in a real context. After a while, it was evident that there was an increased use of reo within our kura whānau.”
Teresa says Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has given her the opportunity to be part of a hāpori (community) of reo speakers and activists for the revitalisation and normalisation of te reo Māori.
“I am really pleased that our whānau decided to continue this journey together through COVID19, and in a way I believe it has strengthened our relationships with one another, as speakers of te reo.”
“ Even though I wasn’t brought up as a reo speaker, Te Reo has always been an intrinsic part of who I am. It’s in my DNA, my whakapapa, and I feel drawn to continue to deepen my understanding and knowledge of the reo of my tupuna (ancestors).”
“Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has supported me with my reo journey and I feel very grateful. I am still learning and will continue to do so.”