Taking up the Te Reo challenge

Kia ora. It’s Maori Language Week this week, so when you turn on the TV, listen to the radio, visit your local library, or do any number of other things in the community, you’ll see Kiwis giving Te Reo a go.

This year’s theme “Whāngaihia te reo Māori ki ngā mātua”: helping parents to pass Te Reo on to their children, is very close to my heart. By virtue of my husband’s heritage, our children are of Maori descent, but as neither Les or I speak Te Reo, the kids’ Maori language skills are limited to what they learn at school. In this sense, I guess we are not a lot different from many other Kiwi families.

We are keen to teach our children some Maori, but without being close to our whanau – many of whom are fluent Te Reo speakers – we haven’t been quite sure where to start.

This year, we’ve decided to take up the challenge and start giving Te Reo a go in a way that is accessible for us as a family – by learning some simple words and phrases and introducing them into our day-to-day conversations.

To be honest, it’s been a little daunting using Te Reo – I’m aware that my pronunciation leaves something to be desired, but I’m working on this (there are lots of great online resources for improving pronunciation). I must be doing something right, because at a recent visit to the dental nurse where I was using a few Maori phrases with my son, the (Maori) dental nurse encouraged me in my efforts.

I’m sure that there is plenty more I can do, but I’m glad to have made a start. If you’re keen to do something, but not sure where to start, here are a couple of resources you may find useful:

The Church also produces some resources in Te Reo (thanks to Te Aka Puaho moderator, the Rev Wayne Te Kaawa for directing me to these):

If you’ve got some Te Reo resources that you’ve found useful – either for use with your family or at church – please add a comment to this article with details of the resource so that we can encouraged in our efforts to give Te Reo a go. Kia kaha!

Jose Reader

Jose Reader is the Acting Blog Moderator and the Presbyterian Church’s Associate Communications Manager. She has worked in various communications roles for the Church over the last 10 years.