Schools celebrate te reo Maori

Grants Braes School pupils perform kapa haka for the national Maori Language Moment on Tuesday...
Grants Braes School pupils perform kapa haka for the national Maori Language Moment on Tuesday with (from left) Ruby Burgess (10), Belle Scott (10), Neve Kendrick (11) and Jemma Ashton (9) up front. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Te Wiki o te Reo Maori is about participation and celebration, school pupils say.

This week, New Zealanders around the country are marking Maori Language Week in their schools, workplaces and homes.

At Queen’s High School, a range of activities with Maori kaupapa have been held each day to encourage pupils to get involved in the culture.

The school’s Maori prefects, Ella McDonald and Maia Tutbury, were excited to showcase Maori language and culture.

‘‘The goal is just to get everyone celebrating and getting involved,’’ Ella said.

Activities so far have included a game of Ki O Rahi and weaving.

On Friday, cake will be available for sale in the whare and pupils and staff will have to order in te reo.

‘‘That’s always a really cool way to end the week off,’’ te reo Maori teacher Cherie Ford said.

During the week, Ella and Maia have been handing out ‘‘ka pai cards’’ to teachers and pupils they hear using te reo Maori.

Queen's High School Maori prefects Ella McDonald (left) and Maia Tutbury (both 17) organised a...
Queen's High School Maori prefects Ella McDonald (left) and Maia Tutbury (both 17) organised a range of activities throughout the school week to encourage pupils to embrace Te Wiki o te Reo Maori. In the background, pupils play a Maori hand game during Maori Language Moment. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON
Usually, teachers hand out the cards to pupils as a reward, so the roles had reversed.

It was about ‘‘encouraging people to add some Maori words to their vocabulary’’, Ella said.

Maia said teachers regularly used Maori phrases, said a karakia or sang a waiata, but it was nice to put an emphasis on the language this week.

‘‘We’re not asking people to be fluent, but just use what they have,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s nice to have a conscious effort put in, I think.

‘‘It’s definitely cool and kind of comforting to see that others are willing to get involved.’’

At noon on Tuesday, the school was part of the Maori Language Moment, a movement which encouraged people to take a moment for te reo Maori.

Since the whole school could not be together, due to Covid-19 restrictions, each class did something different.

While Te Wiki o te Reo Maori may only officially last for seven days, Ella and Maia were determined to include the culture in the school any way they could.

‘‘Every week is Maori Language Week,’’ Maia said.

●To mark the week, The Star has also changed our banner to read ‘‘Kei te pu o to Hapori’’ — ‘‘At the heart of your community’’.

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