Learning te reo Māori has been a way for husband and wife, Alistair and Shari Kydd to reconnect with Aotearoa.
After spending a big chunk of their lives living across the ditch, the couple returned home in 2020 and began studing with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa that following year.
“It’s been a really nice way to reconnect with Aotearoa. On our return it was something that I knew would make me have that connection with home again,” says Alistair.
For Shari (Waikato Tainui), learning te reo had always been a dream, so travelling 40 minutes each way from their home in Tokirima to Taumarunui for class was all worth it.
The couple also had high praise for their kaiako (teacher), Teinakore, who not only taught them te reo but created a learning environment where new friendships could form and thrive.
“Our kaiako made it so easy for us. She made class feel like a second whānau, like a home,” says Shari.
As a pākehā, Alistair was eager to learn and be able to kōrero (speak) in te reo Māori but his growth in confidence was a key highlight during his time studying.
Both Shari and Alistair are passionate about their personal learning journey but also hope to see others embrace and learn te reo Māori.
“Learning my pepeha was really powerful and something that I think everybody should do in Aotearoa. It’s such an important grounding knowing your whakapapa,” says Alistair.
Shari encouraged those with even a slight inkling to learn te reo to take the plunge and know that, “it’s really important that we weave our te reo back in to the korowai (cloak) of Aotearoa.”
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa started delivering te reo Māori programmes to Taumarunui last year after identifying a clear demand to learn te reo Māori in the local community.