September 16, 2022
MP overcomes shame to embrace reo
ACT MP Nicole McKee says she was shamed out of using te reo Maori – but she’s trying to catch up now.
Ms McKee says she studied Maori at school in Poneke, but when the family moved to live in Rotorua when she was 14 she got a hard time for her pronunciation of Maori words.
“They told me I was citified in my pronunciation and gave me quite a hard time and when I came back down to Wellington for my holidays my friends down here said ‘you’re talking like a hori,’ so I couldn’t win and it actually put me off and I thought I’m not going to do this. I passed School C te reo and then I stopped,” she says.
Ms McKee says when she entered parliament she did courses to get her basic understanding back up and she’s now planning further study.
She says it’s wonderful that 50 years after the Maori language petition was presented to parliament there are ample opportunities to learn te reo Maori.