National | Education

Awanuiārangi to launch te reo strategy

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi is set to reveal their Ngā Parirau o te reo Māori strategy this month.

This strategy is the wānanga’s five-year te reo Māori strategy that has been developed over two years with the local iwi, Māori experts and their strategic partners.

The strategy describes their Māori language aspirations and focuses on different ways to approach te reo Māori in the next five years.

Professor Te Kani Kingi, Executive Director of Research and Innovation at Awanuiārangi, said the strategy identifies four high-level goals: use of te reo Māori within the institution; enhanced learning opportunities; increased research; and encouraging te reo Māori use in the wider community.

"Attached to each of these priorities is a range of initiatives to strengthen Māori language use and accelerate revitalisation both within the institution and in the wider community."

Kingi says they want to take this strategy beyond their four walls to normalise the use of the language in the community.

“Key to this is creating an environment where te reo Māori is used naturally in everyday community life, such as at the supermarket or local sports clubs.  We will extend the reach of te reo into our communities to create real language-use opportunities for learners, whether Māori or non-Māori.”

Kingi says the response from the Eastern Bay community has been positive.

“Part of the strategy will be to ensure that people who want to learn te reo Māori have the best opportunity to do so.  If we do this well and we make inroads into developing a bilingual community, there will be multiple outcomes, opportunities, and benefits that go beyond the reo but that highlight the value of the language."

Part of the strategy will include experimenting with a full-time residential immersion programme where only te reo Māori is spoken.

“They will do this by living in a residential facility where only te reo Māori is spoken, where there is a live-in tutor, and where using te reo Māori every day in the wider community will be facilitated- for example, when students go shopping or to community events.”

"We think there are so many people who want to learn but just don't have the time on top of their day-to-day obligations to effectively do so.  On this programme, the student commits the time, and we provide an opportunity that is as wrap-around as possible, allowing students to live, breathe, dream, sleep, eat and engage 24 hours a day in te reo Māori."

Ngā Parirau o te Reo Māori will be launched at the Whakatāne campus of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi on September 12, from 9am-12.30pm.