“I want to make sure, for the sake of our mokopuna, te reo Māori is revitalised in our whānau. I want to greet my future moko in te reo Māori when they arrive.”
“Your journey will be your own and it will look different to others. You may have bursts of progression, then years of nothing. That’s not a failure, it’s just the nature of the journey.”
“You could say it’s given me a rebirth. It’s given me the confidence to walk out the door and be comfortable about who I am.”
Liz, or Irihāpeti, grew up in Taranaki during the 1970s and 1980s, when being a proud Māori wasn’t easy or fashionable. “I realised it was time to learn about my reo and tūpuna Māori.”
“I want my children to grow up understanding te ao Māori, tikanga and te reo because I think if all of those things thrive in New Zealand, then we will all thrive as well.”
As an older student, learning reo Māori was slightly daunting for Ōpōtiki College teacher, Deborah Mckillop. But after learning she would be taught by one of her former students, things became more relaxed.
“I lost the reo but after going back to learn it, it’s all slowly coming back to me. I wanted to refresh my reo and start from the beginning so I could be on the journey with my babies, learning it alongside them.”
“Now that I’m older – and I hope wiser – I came to realise that if I’m going to call myself a New Zealander, I need to know what that is, and that includes knowing and understanding te ao Māori and te reo Māori.”
In 2021, Maggie Hautonga Currie sold her Perth home and returned to Aotearoa to get back in touch with her Māori culture and learn the language that she was once made ashamed of and punished for speaking.
Te Pīnakitanga o te reo Kairangi graduate Nikau Reti-Beazley (Ngāpuhi), enrolled in the Level 7 Diploma in Ōtepoti to improve his grasp on te reo and what he discovered was not only a new extended whānau to practise kōrero, but also an opportunity to visit some of the stunning marae in the wider Otago area.