Learning Te Reo Māori Phrases

Principal Paula Farquhar wanted staff to become more confident in understanding and using te reo Māori phrases.

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Te reo Māori is one of our national languages in New Zealand so it is important to pay attention to it and the meaning and culture behind the words.

Just how do we do this? By actively participating in it and drawing it increasingly into everyday life, everywhere. 

Ko taku reo taku ohooho, ko taku reo taku mapihi mauria

My language is my awakening, my language is the window to my soul

A proverb closely associated with language revitalization, which is very important in maintaining culture.

At the beginning, Principal Paula Farquhar, wanted staff to become more confident in understanding and using te reo Māori phrases. The plan was to translate phrases that were used in everyday teaching into te reo Māori and encourage the use of them.  The normalisation of te reo Māori in the learning environment is reliant on teachers' uptake and to do this we needed to strengthen our skills and knowledge. We needed to move beyond colours, numbers, and greetings.

The first step was to introduce a new phrase each week for teachers to practise with their class. With the beginning of the summer term it was obvious that kuhuna tō pōtae (put your hat on) would be used regularly. I have even had students directing this particular phrase towards me in the playground.

Feedback from teachers has been positive.  It’s been great seeing how each teacher has used the resource that was made and shared, in their classroom.

I have really enjoyed learning the new phrases. My students now remind me if I forget to say them.

I have found the phrases really helpful, especially as I am relieving in multiple classrooms. Having the focus and consistency across the school is great. The students tell me the phrases when I'm in their rooms, demonstrating they are being used and remembered. I love being on duty and having students come up to say hi and ask how I am using te reo.

The posters for our five te reo Māori phrases are front and centre on the teacher whiteboard in Room 3.  I am finding practising with other teachers to learn to pronounce these phrases correctly and use them frequently helpful to grow my confidence.

I have been so impressed with the number of students approaching me in the playground and using te reo in an authentic way. It's a lot of fun and we are all learning a lot. I never forget to wear my pōtae now.

Room 4 students have added to the phrases they have been learning.

I have been using this lanyard to help me remember the phrases. This has been very useful.

Room 14 have been practising the phrases in a donut circle.

Room 10 & 11 have got the phrases in our timetable on the whiteboard and digitally.

Learning te reo Māori helps students and teachers grow as learners. They discover more ways of learning, more ways of knowing, and more about their own capabilities. The Māori language is an important part of New Zealand’s culture, history, and identity.

Ka whāngaia, ka tipu, ka puāwai.

Nurture it and it will grow, then blossom.

2024 Jackson

Leanne Jackson

I have a long history of being part of the education world. My experiences include being a parent, grandparent, and teacher. I have had training in both Early Childhood and Primary School.

I have been working at Wairakei Primary School since 2014 and I am teaching in the junior school. I have a strong belief that all children are capable learners and I am passionate about developing learning programmes that are creative, challenging, authentic and fun with my team. I nurture the children’s curiosity while encouraging them to become self- motivated and independent learners who understand what they are learning and why they are learning it.

I enjoy working in the supportive learning community of Wairakei Primary School where children, families and teachers learn and grow together.

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