The debate about whether te reo Māori should be compulsory in schools is a massive distraction. What many people don’t realise is that schools already have a responsibility, under the Education Act, to provide instruction in te reo to every parent who asks for it. The key point? You have to ask for it. 1 (Tuatahi): Find out what […]More
Whether we realise it or not, whether we speak Māori fluently or only a little, every time we put pen to paper, or raise our voice to sing, or stand up to recite mōteatea, we draw on foundations that go back centuries. We reach deep into literary traditions that are colourful, vibrant, rich and entertaining. It's in us. It's part of who we are.
Kereama Taepa grew up with a foot in two worlds. As a kid, he didn’t really notice there was a difference. He moved between the homes of his Pākehā mum and his Māori dad, soaking up the creative influences in both. One of his earliest childhood memories is drawing stick figures at his nana’s kitchen […]More
'People often have this very narrow view of what te reo can do. People think that Māori stories amount to myths and legends. But that's such a limited perspective. Our language has incredible range. We can traverse all genres and styles. We can do anything with te reo, and do it well.'
Standing on the periphery, it looks like two different and opposing worlds facing each other across a great divide. Which is, some days, exactly what it feels like to live in New Zealand.
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
Twenty years ago I graduated from Whitireia Polytech with a Certificate in Journalism. I scraped through with a minimum pass and a faint congratulatory smile from the head of the Journalism School, Geoff Baylis. He was a legend in his day, as a former editor of The Dominion who had been briefly famous for taking […]More
EDUCATION HAS LONG BEEN USED AS A WAY OF NORMALISING ONE SET OF IDEAS AND VALUES OVER ANOTHER. IT’S COLONISATION BY STEALTH. A BATTLE FOR OUR HEARTS AND MINDS, USING WORDS AND IDEAS AS WEAPONS. THAT’S WHY, WHEN WE SAY WE WANT HISTORY TO BE COMPULSORY IN SCHOOLS, WE NEED TO REALISE THAT THE CHALLENGE IS AS MUCH TO UNLEARN THE HISTORY THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN TAUGHT, AS IT IS TO TRY AND TEACH A NEW, “OBJECTIVE” HISTORY.
I was 24 when I had my first baby. I’d just started Uni and it seemed like a good use of time. I wrote assignments while he slept, substituted text books for picture books. I used to tuck him into his push chair with a hottie and a blanket, a cocoon against the bitter Wellington chill, […]More