OPINION: I started my own education in Te Reo Maori at kohanga reo and within bilingual units at primary, intermediate and secondary schools.
However, since leaving school Te Reo and tikanga Maori have had no place in my "adult" life. I felt like I had nowhere to apply those teachings and as a result lost most of what I had learned.
It is only now that I am realising the importance of Te Reo.
My renewed interest is prompted by my 7-year-old daughter Aamani. Despite my decision not to enrol her into kohanga reo or at the bilingual unit she has already learnt a number of waiata during her time at primary school.
Her love for this and for kapahaka is evident in how quickly she learns and retains new words and actions. Even when her pronunciation of new words is corrected you can tell she is intrigued by the Maori culture and it is a delight to see her have such focus.
Whenever we have taken Aamani into the Maori world she seems more connected and attentive with what is happening around her.
It is because of her that I want to re-acquaint myself with Te Reo Maori.
This has only been reinforced by Dr Ruakere Hond's thesis, entitled Matua te Reo, Matua te Tangata and how he connects community wellbeing to cultural identity. Te Reo is a part of our culture and should be practised, learned and then implemented throughout our lives as Maori people.
At the moment, I feel the culture we have in Aotearoa is defined by European standards and expectations. There needs to be more lessons in our schools which are based around the history of Aotearoa.
It has much more relevance to who we are as people and what contributes to our unique cultural identity.
●Marama Moore is a Waitara mother, volunteer and student. She recently attended a course for aspiring youth leaders held in Wellington.
Despite an unsuccessful bid to be elected on to the Waitara Community Board last year, she plans to stand again in 2016.
- Taranaki Daily News
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