Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ako Māori

Tēnā koutou!

I te a Ako Māori au.

Greetings to all! In the past I was at Ako Māori.

I'd love to tell you about it, considering it's Te wiki o Te Reo (Te Reo (Māori language) week), now seems like a good time!

Graeme and I, and two of our good friends attended 8 weeks of night classes under the teachings of Regan Stokes our kaiako (teacher).

And. It was really really fantastic. A cannot possibly rate it any higher than what I do!

We have been wanting to do some more up skilling of our Reo for a while now. Graeme was well taught as a child in his language and culture but through his teenage and adult years lost a lot of it. And me, as pakeha, a New Zealander, and also a mum raising two sweet Māori girls, I wanted to know a lot more than what a did (basically numbers and colours and that was it), because I realised as the main teacher in our home, it was important for me to have this knowledge and understanding if I was to raise my own children with it. 

This Ako Māori course was informal (no exams etc), free, and was designed for beginners to immerse themselves in Māori language and culture.

Over the 8 weeks we learnt::
-proverbs, family structure, cultural values, Mana
-pronunciation (mine still needs a bit of work and practice!)

-greetings and farewells and casual phrases
-asking someone their name and where they are from
-basic pronouns / possessive articles (I, you, them)(me, yours, theirs)
-asking "how are you", with feelings based words also
-basic grammar and sentence structure
-asking "what is this"
-selection of naming words
-descriptive sentences
-asking "what are you doing"
-a selection of verbs / pronouns
-waiata (song) and karakia (chant / prayer)

So WHOA, so much was packed in to those 8 lessons, there is a whole lot more in our books that I haven't retained, but I keep going back to as my learning continues and I become more confident in what I already know.

What I loved about this course as that it was a mix of grammar and phrases. So for example, we didn't just learn that "Haere mai" means welcome, as you are usually taught. We learnt that "haere" is a word for going or getting, and "mai" is a word for "me". So put them together and it literally means (in English) "go toward me" or... "welcome" :) That "Haere" and "Mai" can now be put into use in "Haere ra" (go into the day / good bye), "Haere atu" (go away).

Its a very useful way of learning, and it means that I'm now able to figure out sentences that I've never seen before using the limited range of words I know the meaning for. 

Although for me in my stage of learning it is a lot easier to read Māori than it is to listen. When it is written down I can take the time to work out each word and the sentence structure, that is a little different to English, and figure out roughly what is being said. 

Throughout the course each night our Kaiako (teacher) would do a little korero (talk) on culture, values, and an understanding of life. It was absolutely fascinating, and I took a lot away from in for my own life, especially being a person of Mana, Utu (good and bad utu), and being connected to my own iwi, hapū and whānau. 

Te Reo is being used a whole lot more in our family now, we are all trying it out, making mistakes and learning together. Just this morning Camilla said "Thats a big Rākau!" And I replied to her "He rākau nui tera" which means A big tree over there. I gave myself a high five for that one. To which Milla replied "does nui mean big? I'll tell my friends at kindy that".

If you consider yourself a New Zealander or are interested in Te Reo Māori, check out a course near you, or have a look at the Ako Māori website for self study options. Its a great language to learn! 

Hei konei (see you here in the future!)


  1. Congratulations on your study, and use of what you have learned.

  2. Tino pai tou mahi Sophie!!!! It's so encouraging to see more and more NZers embracing, celebrating and using Te Reo. xxx


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