Stories about and in support of Te Reo Māori revitalisation.
Shame is one of the biggest barriers many of us face in learning Māori. The word whakamā means “to whiten” yet it’s so much weightier than that. Shame and fear of speaking Māori isn’t something that only affects shy people. Even the most confident speakers can lose their voice sometimes. I’ve heard people deliver powerful prepared […]More
A few years ago, I worked as a quiz writer on a TV show aimed at secondary school kids. Trial runs before the show left us scrambling. The historical questions had been pitched way too high. Some kids weren’t even sure what century the Treaty was signed, let alone the date. As for what each […]More
Not long ago, I realised that I’m an expert in Māori. I can’t string two sentences together, get muri and mua mixed up constantly, and I need to use my fingers to count. But, hey, in my whānau, I’m the expert. My husband, though hugely supportive of me and my reo journey, isn’t enrolled in reo […]More
My mum forced me to take Japanese all through high school. She believed that a second language would open doors for me and that Japanese was the pick of the options. A passport to another life, she promised. The world at my bilingual feet. There was only one fly in the ointment. I hated Japanese. Instead, in […]More
A lot of people have asked if I’m fluent in Māori after my year of total immersion. The answer is absolutely … not! Sadly, there’s no such thing as a fast track when it comes to te reo Māori. That’s lesson one for you. Lesson two is that you have to go backwards into […]More
About 10 years ago, I tried to enrol my two-year-old son in kōhanga reo. I was enthusiastic and excited to immerse him in te ao Māori. I didn’t want him to feel ashamed of his Māoritanga as I so often felt when I was growing up. I wanted great things for him, as all parents […]More