A lightbulb moment about identifying as a “New Zealander” led to grandmother and radio station manager Anne Dawson enrolling in Te Reo Māori studies at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in 2021. She began with the beginner programme, He Pī Ka Pao (Levels 1 & 2), then went on to complete He Pī Ka Rere (Levels 3 & 4), the intermediate te reo Māori programme. Anne hopes that sharing her te reo Māori journey will inspire others to start their own.
Only a toddler when she came to live in Aotearoa, Anne grew up with little knowledge or contact with Māori people, language or culture. She learnt a little at school in the 60s and 70s, and again during teacher training, but struggled to understand the relevance in her life. It was not until Anne read a novel about colonisation that she realised the importance of indigenous culture worldwide and Māori culture in Aotearoa.
“Now that I’m older – and I hope wiser – I came to realise that if I’m going to call myself a New Zealander, I need to know what that is, and that includes knowing and understanding te ao Māori and te reo Māori.”
At 63 years old, she decided that it was now or never, and so she enrolled at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Learning a new language has proven to be challenging; however, Anne has committed to speaking te reo Māori to the best of her ability. She now has the confidence to encourage others to use correct pronunciation whenever possible, especially on the airwaves in her role as Station Manager for Access Radio Taranaki.
The highlight for her through her journey has been the other learning that goes alongside te reo Māori.
“I’ve loved learning and hearing about the connection to the whenua/ the land, and nature/ Te Ao. I’ve never had as many lightbulb moments before as I’ve had in the last few months.”
Find out more about our te reo Māori programmes.