September 09, 2019
Three months for reo confidence in Awanuiārangi experiment
As Māori Language Week starts, four Māori high flyers are starting a what will be three months of immersion in te reo that they hope will make them confident speakers of te reo.
Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi is putting them up in a house in Whakatāne and providing not just formal classes but a range of activities so they can use the language in as many situations as possible.
Te Kani Kingi, Awanuiārangi's director of research and innovation, says the eastern Bay of Plenty has a reasonably large number of native speakers, and they have been prompted to interact with the tauira.
Some of the four may struggle at first because they have limited fluency, but they have put their careers on hold to make the effort.
"It will be a bit of an experiment. We're calling it a pilot. But if we can in three months take people from knowing little te reo Māori to where they are confident enough to speak te reo Maori in most formal or informal situations, we can say the initiative's been a success," Professor Kingi says.
If the course works, there is already a waiting list of people keen to do it next year.
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