Growing up on the marae and listening to the elders kōrero (speak) in te reo Māori was a founding moment in Teinakore Harawira’s upbringing.
These are the moments that ignited her passion for the language, Māori culture and the desire to teach it to those around her.
“As a kid I grew up on the marae with my nanny and koro. I preferred to sit in the wharepuni (sleeping house) and listen to them kōrero. I loved learning karanga and waiata at a very young age under my kaumātua (elders),” she says.
Born and raised in Taumarunui, Teinakore has been teaching te reo Māori for over 15 years in her hometown, Taranaki and Auckland.
Since returning to Taumarunui in 2019 she has continued to teach te reo Māori and last year took on the role as the towns only te reo Māori kaiako (teacher) at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (TWoA).
“My tauira (students) have all become whānau. I told them right from the start, you’re not just tauira you’re whānau. Which means we’ll all be helping eachother and we’ll move on this waka together.”
Teinakore started out teaching level one and two at TWoA but this year will also have a level three and four class on offer.
Teaching te reo Māori is more than just a job for Teinakore and being apart of TWoA has been a highpoint in her teaching career she says.
“For me I love everything about te ao Māori, I love everything about teaching. My main highlight is seeing people succeed and seeing people start from the bottom and at the end come out feeling on top of the world.”