National | Kapa haka

Over 2300 students participate in mass haka for Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

More than 2300 students from Early Childcare Centres and Schools in the Franklin District flocked the Eco-light Stadium in Pukekohe to participate in a mass waiata ā-ringa and haka to launch Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.

It's Te Reo Māori on display through waiata and haka.

Te Waiariki Peita says, “This is a very rewarding role, meeting the children. Some even come to hug us and also dance beside us.”

The programme is called "Mahi Pai" and is taught in schools in the Franklin District by members of Māori language programme providers, Te Kōpu.

It encourages learning te reo through New Zealand Sign Language, upbeat music and fun that fosters excelled learning.

Lisa Minhinnick says, “For three years we have been teaching children Māori songs, the different actions and the specific Māori words.”

Krystal Lee Brown says, “It's enlightening seeing the many different children from all walks of life, whether they are foreigners or Māori and they are also learning the language in sign language as well so that's a new thing to me.”

The event was jointly organised by Te Huarahi Trust and Te Kōpu Trust, and Taniwha pictured here are named after unique Māori values such as aroha and kaitiaki and the taniwha are also the learning facilitators of the program.

Te Waiariki Peita says, “There are many of them who don't know how to speak, so it's good to see them embracing the language, dancing along and also smiling. I love it when I see them smiling.”

Roimata Minhinnick says, “Although it is only at a very basic level, it is fun, we see the children smiling, and it is sign this is simple and easy for everyone.”

Te Kōpu Trust hope to be able to deliver 'Mahi Pai' in schools throughout New Zealand and further develop learning programs for mobile applications and possibly television programming.