It’s a familiar feeling for many on their te reo Māori journey and one Tanya Tucker knows well.
“For ages I’d say as little as possible in class and felt really out of my depth,” she says.
“Everyone was really supportive but I worried I wouldn’t know what people were talking about and I felt whakamā because you don’t want to stuff it up.”
The easy option would be to chuck it in – particularly since COVID-19 forced classes online – but Tanya says while learning te reo Māori can be challenging, it’s also hugely satisfying.
“When I started, I had very limited basics that I learned at school in the ‘90s. I came in thinking I was just learning a language, but there is so much tikanga and waiata and karakia. A whole lot of things I was unaware of, and I loved it. It’s totally changed my outlook.”
She is currently studying the Diploma in Te Aupikitanga ki te Reo Kairangi at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Kaikohe, after initially studying Te Pūtaketanga o te Reo in 2018 and Te Rōnakitanga ki te Reo Kairangi last year.
Tanya – Ngāti Kahu ki Whangaroa – says the more she learns, the more she appreciates the beauty of te reo Māori.