Kura Reo ki Poihakena Open Day

The Kura Reo ki Poihakena held an open day on Monday to show the community what they have learned this past year. The students have been attending Te Ataarangi, a Māori immersion programme led by kaiaka Neria Mataira, at the marae.

Visitors were welcomed on to the marae with the traditional pōwhiri, karanga and waiata led by the students, which was followed by morning tea and the sharing of their experiences in the class.

As the students recalled their first days, they introduced themselves in te reo Māori and almost seemed to struggle to communicate their feelings in English. But it was clear they held much aroha and respect for te reo, for Neria and each other.

They led the visitors through a short session of the rakau, the rods, which is the learning system for Te Ataarangi developed by Dame Katarina Mataira, Neria’s mother. Within five minutes both the students and visitors were signing a short waiata together.

The journey of learning te reo Māori is an all encompassing, personal journey. It’s an emotional language that flows through the words and wairua of the person speaking. Although there are so many opportunities to learn, Te Ataarangi connects you in a very personal way.

Because Te Ataarangi is held at the marae, no English is spoken during class. All questions and small talk among one another is done in te reo Māori. The students said lunches were really quiet at first, but now they talk among each other with ease.

This year’s programme included both new speakers and some second year speakers, all of who developed immensely through the programme.

Neria offers a 10-hour a week immersion course that runs on Mondays and Tuesdays, or an evening course on Mondays for two hours for those that work during the day. Kura Reo ki Poihakena follows the Raglan Area School’s schedule so those with tamariki have the opportunity to attend.

Classes will begin again in February when the school year starts. Email Neria at tutekupu@gmail.com for more information or to enroll.

Karamea Puriri