New Zealand: Te reo lessons mark Maori language week

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Aug 1 14:16:44 UTC 2006

Te reo lessons mark Maori language week

Staff and students were given the opportunity to improve their Maori
pronunciation with free lessons at the Palmerston North and Wellington
campuses last week. Maori language lecturers ran the classes to help
improve the confidence of staff and students and to celebrate Maori
Language Week. Maori language lecturer in Wellington, Te Tumatakuru
OConnell (Ngti Raukawa, Ngi Te Rangi, Te ti Awa, Ngi Tahu) says the
lessons were aimed at helping staff and students become confident and at
ease with the language in a friendly and relaxed environment.

This will also tie in with a focus from Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Maori (the
Maori Language Commission) this year for correct pronunciation, Mr
OConnell says. It will also contribute to the recognition of Matua Reo
Kaupapa, the new Maori language policy launched at the University last
month. Mr OConnell believes that one of the priorities for the University
in its role to help revitalise the language is the recognition of te reo
as socially and culturally invaluable to this country. Palmerston North
Maori language lecturer Darryn Joseph (Ngti Maniapoto)  also gave lessons
to students and staff wanting to improve their pronunciation of the
language including Maori place names.

We worked on identifying short and long vowels including the use of the
macron over the long vowel to indicate a longer sound. We also worked on
diphthongs such as the ao and au sounds which many learners initially find
difficult to pronounce. A trivial pursuits evening at the Hokowhitu campus
with questions all in te reo Maori was a highlight of Maori language
activities at the Palmerston North campus this year. At the Auckland
campus, traditional healer Hohepa Delamere (Te Whnau-a-Apanui) was the
guest speaker in a special seminar to celebrate Maori Language Week. Mr
Delamere regularly travels the globe sharing the knowledge taught to him
by his elders. His ability to retain and recall mtauranga (Maori
knowledge) sees him in high demand at indigenous peoples' gatherings
around the world.

Maori Language Week has been recognised since 1975. The Maori language
became an official language in 1987 following recommendations from the
Waitangi Tribunal. The University's Maori language policy, Matua Reo
Kaupapa, was launched last month with objectives including more bilingual
signage around the campuses and more opportunities for Maori language
learning and researching.

Created: 31 July, 2006

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list