March 24, 2021
Ex-PM keen to boost reo skills
Former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley and her husband Burton are among the eager tauira lining up for the return of reo Māori classes to Kororāreka.
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is back in Russell after an eight year gap.
Course coordinator Hoeta Maxwell says a former student asked him to restart the classes because of growing interest.
Sixty people including the Shipleys have registered for the 38-week Te Ara Reo course.
Mr Maxwell says it's pitched as a gentle introduction to the language.
"A lot of waiata, a lot of humour, being patient with the students, taking it really slowly with our whānau. We take that same attitude with our waka, if someone falls out when we are on a journey, we row that waka back and pick them up and pull them in the boat. That's what happens when students say 'this is too hard for me,'" he says.
The course kicks off on March 30 at the Haratu Community Marae.
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