English, Japanese, te reo all in the mix

Tomomi Hayde-Segawa and her husband Mathew Hayde with some of the Maori, English and Japanese...
Tomomi Hayde-Segawa and her husband Mathew Hayde with some of the Maori, English and Japanese children’s books their sons Tahito (5, left) and Mano (2) have around the house. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Kia ora, hello and konnichi wa.

In at least one Dunedin home you can hear English,   Japanese and te reo Maori all being used in conversation.

Mathew Hayde and his wife Tomomi Hayde-Segawa have been learning te reo for about five years.

As he had Maori lineage (Kai Tahu) he wanted to learn the language to  understand his heritage better, Mr Hayde said.

Mrs Hayde-Segawa, who is Japanese, wanted to learn the language because she was interested in New Zealand’s history and culture. Both also talk to their sons in Japanese and English and have started using te reo phrases in some circumstances.

Mr Hayde said after initially acquiring a conversational level in te reo, a lack of opportunities to use the language and the birth of their second son had resulted in their fluency slipping slightly.

"It has slipped back a bit as it is sometimes hard to find avenues to use te reo."

However, this year they are determined to start improving and are learning te reo through a Massey University course called Toro Mai.

They have also had a family sleepover at the Puketeraki marae to help them gain a greater understanding of Maori culture.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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