Embracing te reo Māori in small town Waikato

Teiria Davis and Whaitiri Ngaheu
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Learning te reo Māori isn’t exclusive, it’s open to everyone and that’s made clear at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa’s Apakura campus in Te Awamutu. 

Te reo Māori kaiako (teachers), Teiria Davis and Whaitiri Ngaheu are both passionate reo Māori speakers but are just as passionate about sharing the language and culture with anyone open to learning.

“It’s a highlight seeing and hearing the language being spoken by our own Māori and by those who aren’t Māori, just seeing all people experience our culture through the language,” says Whaitiri who is going into her first year as a kaiako, teaching the level 2 te reo Māori programme.

Teiria teaches the level 5 intermediate full immersion te reo Māori programme but doesn’t just limit her teaching to the classroom.

She’s so eager to see others learn that she’s even taken lessons to her local gym.

“I have been very fortunate to take te reo Māori to my gym and establish a rōpū (group) of like minded people who love to kori tinana (exercise), love hauora (health) and love to kōrero (speak) Māori at the same time,” says Teiria who has also been able to teach the gym coaches reo Māori tips and new words.

For both Teiria and Whaitiri, te reo Māori was a core part of their upbringing and keeping the language alive and thriving is all part of their drive to teach.

“I back anything that serves our reo’s revitalisation plan and I enjoy working in an environment where I can practice our Māori culture and exercise our te reo Māori and now I get to be apart of the responsibilty of sharing it,” says Whaitiri.

Teiria hopes that all tauira (students) she teaches, both inside the classroom and out will not only embrace the language and culture but learn to love it.

“I love te reo Māori more than anything and I hope my tauira will love it as much as I do. That’s my biggest goal when I’m teaching,” she says.

View te reo Māori study options and pathways with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

1st place winner

First place winner

We had over 95 reo champions tell their stories which reached collectively over 259.2K people in Aotearoa 🤩 All the reo journeys were inspiring and motivating but alas we can only award three. Today we announce our first place winner #motereo #MahuruMāori

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