Marlborough schools ready for Maori Language Week

Picton School students, from left, Lily'ann Jones, Holly Nicholson, Caitlin Gledhill and Rheana Roberts-Bull, play ...
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Picton School students, from left, Lily'ann Jones, Holly Nicholson, Caitlin Gledhill and Rheana Roberts-Bull, play ukelele and sing waiata as part of Maori Language Week.

Polishing pronunciation and taking te reo home will be the focus for some of the region's schools during Maori Language Week, which starts on Monday.

Picton School principal Alister McCosh said te reo and tikanga were part of school culture every day of the year, but more efforts would be made to send it home. 

"We will incorporate a slightly stronger focus in our communications with our families during Maori Language Week," McCosh said. 

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The theme for the week is Whangaihia te reo Maori ki nga Matua, or Nurture the language in parents. 

"For Picton School, it is all about respecting whanau and nurturing the language that is unique to New Zealand," McCosh said.

Renwick School principal Simon Heath said they would emphasise the need for proper pronunciation of vowel sounds, particularly in place names. 

"We're using the week as a bit of a launch pad to get things cracking in the school. For us it's about reigniting our Maori perspectives across the school.

"It's our native language and we should respect and treasure it," Heath said.

Blenheim School Maori resource teacher Rita Powick said schools generally wove Maori into every week of the school year, but said it was critical parents and caregivers promoted the language at home. 

"If language is not happening at home there's no basis to put it on. The first place it has to live is in the home."

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Powick said an increasing number of parents were committing to learn te reo Maori in an effort to bring it further into their homes.

"Te reo is going through a stage, I don't want to call it resurgence, but even here in Marlborough it's becoming more commonly heard in non-Maori communities than it was five to 10 years ago.

"I think we've made a realisation, and it's not a new thing, that [we need to] value it for our children."

Maori Language Week runs from July 27 - August 2. 

 - Stuff

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