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Te reo Māori focus for Plunket playgroup

A passion for reclaiming te reo Māori for her whānau led mother Caren Davis to open a Plunket Te Reo playgroup in the small Northland town of Mangawhai.

enews maori groupTe Puna Reo o Te Mangawhai has 23 children enrolled, with around 10 attending the weekly playgroup. Caren says the wonderful thing about the group is that adults and children are learning te reo and tīkanga together.

Caren’s grandmother was Māori and grew up speaking te reo but lost it later in life. Caren was determined to learn the language herself, enrolling in a number of courses before committing herself to a year-long total immersion course.

When her daughter Huia, now two years old, was born she realised how much of the language a baby could learn at a young age. She discovered there were other local whānau interested in exposing their children to te reo Māori. Caren approached local Plunket community staff for help, a small budget was provided to start the playgroup which opened its doors in March. It became a Ministry of Education certified group shortly thereafter. The playgroup runs a weekly session of up to three-and-a-half hours. At the start of the session the whole group gathers for karakia and hīmene followed by whaka-whanaungatanga where everyone introduces themselves through a waiata. Kapa haka time follows during which four or five action or poi waiata are sung. Caren says waiata are very effective in reinforcing te reo words and phrases.

Caren leads the group as a volunteer and feels that it is close to being able to continue effectively on days she cannot be there.

She has been working with the local hapū Te Uri o Hau to ensure the group is using the correct tīkanga and mita (dialect). This has been an issue as some of the te reo resources the group have been given to use are in a different dialect. The group has made resources of its own and is looking to purchase more to support language learning.

Plunket’s Chief Advisor Māori, Hera Black, says Plunket wants to encourage the establishment of more groups like Te Puna Reo o Te Mangawhai. “I am delighted with the work Caren has undertaken to provide this opportunity for the whānau in Mangawhai,” Hera says.

Hāpaitia te ara tika, pūmau ai te rangatiratanga mo nga uri whakatipu. (Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for the future generation.)

For more information contact carenhastings@gmail.com  

For advice and support: hera.black@plunket.org.nz or claire.rumble@plunket.org.nz 

0 Comments Posted by Mamae Munn on 4 August 2016

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