WHAT IF….every student in every English-medium school learn’t two Māori words and one Māori phrase per week? By 13 years they would know 800 words and 400 phrases. 5 minutes of learning and maintenance per day. Too hard? No – too easy! Te Reo Tuatahi is doing this weekly in their schools by delivering a 30 minute lesson in every class once a week.

Te Reo Tuatahi aims to provide the best Māori language experiences in the world.  Its vision is to not only promote the revitalisation of our indigenous language in Aotearoa but to normalise it and have it spoken everywhere – in our schools, in our whanau, in our homes and wider communities.  We have a captive audience (620,000+) of tamariki already (not counting the teachers) in our primary and intermediate English-medium schools. So – what better place to start?

Our language tutors (kaiāwhina reo) are sourced from their own communities. They are fluent or at least competent and confident in te reo māori.  This is not the only pre-requisite as not everyone has the skill and ability to go into a class of 25-30+ tamariki and making the learning of te reo FUN and engaging!  Our kaiawhina reo must have the WOW factor when they step in to a classroom and deliver these weekly 30 minute sessions to our tamariki.

We began in 2014 and at our peak were providing lessons to 15,000 students from 40 schools in 2017 across Auckland. An evaluation of our first 28 schools showed that both classroom teachers and students made great strides in speaking te reo, that the numbers of children wanting to speak te reo doubled (Māori children to 81%) and that 78% of classroom teachers observed a lift in Māori students elf-esteem and pride in being Māori.  When you have 95% of Māori tamariki still attending English-medium schools that is an outcome we are very proud of!!

The Evaluation also confirmed that 94% of classroom teachers felt they could deliver the programme themselves within three years; 20% had gone on to increase their own competency and confidence by doing a te reo māori courses outside of school hours with a local Wānanga or tertiary provider.  The full Evaluation Report is available here. Moving into 2020 Te Reo Tuatahi is looking at ways to improve our method of delivery and make the learning of te reo Māori more accessible. So as part of our new package we are encouraging schools to run our Te Reo Whānau course alongside the school programme Te Reo Tuatahi. Te Reo Whānau is our after-school programme for parents and then if and when demand requires it – we will run an evening course for parents at the school – Te Reo Pō.

With waiting lists for te reo Māori courses now becoming the ‘norm’ in some of our major centres – Te Reo Whānau and Te Reo Pō is proving to be a very popular option. Parents not only love the opportunity to be able to learn te reo Māori so close to home but also to be learning alongside their tamariki!!  This is taking te reo Māori into an environment where it is encouraged and valued; where it absolutely needs to be shared and nurtured – in the HOME!