Tā moko artist and mum of two, Mikayla (Meke) Nikora was brought up speaking reo Māori but slowly lost the language after leaving kura kaupapa Māori and moving to Pākehā schooling.
Studying te reo Māori at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has meant that she can keep up with her young tamariki (children) and go on the learning journey with them.
“I lost the reo but after going back to learn it, it’s all slowly coming back to me. I wanted to refresh my reo and start from the beginning so I could be on the journey with my babies, learning it alongside them.”
Since completing Te Ara Reo Māori (He Pī Ka Rere), Level 3 and 4 at the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Gisborne campus, Meke has not only been able to connect with her tamariki more but it’s also had a positive impact on her business, Mokowhakaaio Arts.
Meke completed a degree in Māori Visual Art and Design at Toihoukura and has been a tā moko artisit coming up ten years and also sells clothing.
“It’s good to have the reo behind what I do. Because I say karakia (prayer) and mōteatea (traditional chant) before doing tā moko.”
Relearning reo has given Meke the chance to dive deepeer into her whakapapa (genealogy) and with the help of her kaiako, Stella Beach, she soon grew to learn and understand more about where she was from and what that meant to her.
Meke greatly appreciated the support she received from her kaiako (teacher) and the environment that was created to make learning both enjoyable and comfortable.
"The whakawhanaungatanga (building relationships) at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is just so good. They made us feel welcome and it was whānau freindly, thats what I loved. My kaiako was amazing and she has been the biggest help.”