Te Reo Māori is a taonga – a national treasure – and yet it’s declining on a national level. The latest 2013 Census reveals only 4% of the national population can speak Te Reo well enough to hold a conversation. This shows the urgent need for Te Reo to be promoted and supported.
At present, 70% of Māori school students in Auckland are getting very little or no Te Reo, meaning the majority of Māori students are missing out on the social, economic and cultural benefits to be gained by learning Te Reo Māori.
Working alongside community, council and iwi groups, COMET Auckland plays an active role in discussing and advocating for the best strategies to promote Te Reo Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau, with an increased emphasis on quality, early childhood learning to support Māori learners and whānau.
Te Reo revitalisation has become an important topic of conversation at the Tāmaki Makaurau Education Forum, which COMET’s Māori Education Manager Hauāuru Rawiri leads and facilitates. The TMEF platform is used to discuss effective strategies to identify what is working in our communities and what can be developed further.
A TMEF hui held in November included over 20 iwi representatives, the Education Review Office, Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Education, Serco, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council, and it was agreed that Te Reo revitalisation is a community issue and is addressed more effectively with a single focus from across the sector.
The TMEF hui in May discussed government and community engagement strategies, language resilience and how policy can support Māori education.
The hui in May also identified four focus areas which were:
• Empowering communities – supporting community initiatives around Māori education.
• Speaking Te Reo – encouraging Māori to be comfortable in participating and speaking Te Reo in immersion environments.
• Best Learning – identify broad strategies that foster effective iwi cohesion.
• Te Ataarangi – maintaining Te Reo proficiency outside of immersion environments.
One further action towards supporting Te Reo Māori revitalisation this year has been support for a collaborative project led by Auckland Transport, with Kiwa Digital and Pukekohe North School, to develop a fantastic new resource that became available in Māori Language Week 2015.
He Rā Ngahau Mā Te Whānau I Runga Tereina, or Whānau Fun on the Train is a digital book available in both Te Reo Māori and English, and is a valuable resource for local Māori cultural history and Te Reo language.
The book is about a whānau from Pukekohe who go by train on a day trip to Eden Park to watch the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines. Along the way the whānau teaches us Māori history of Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) by sharing stories about sites of significance such as maunga (mountains), events and traditional names for train stops. The app can be downloaded free and is a wonderful resource for schools and kura, and also for families wishing to strengthen and celebrate Te Reo Māori with their children.
To read the full report, click here.