Thursday, July 26, 2012

Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori

Haere mai ki te wiki o te reo Maori. Ko Poppy toku ingoa. Ko wai koe? Kei te pehea koe? Kei te ngenge.

This week is Maori Language Week. I love it because we have lots of fun with Te Reo Maori in my classroom. We are learning basic greetings, whika (numbers), nga tae (colours) and simple commands, plus whatever else comes along. We always have a song in Maori in the morning, and participate in any cultural activities that come along. 

Tomorrow some of my boys will be part of a group performing a Haka as a part of the celebration of the arrival of our taonga (treasure), which is a carving designed by one of our senior students and created by carving experts with participation by lots of our students. I'm looking forward to seeing my boys in action as I'm sure they will give it their best effort. All of the (approximately) 135 students in our school have intellectual disabilities, and to see them performing is a huge pleasure of mine. They make me so proud when they show off their skills to the best of their abilities, with no embarrassment or worry about what people think of them. 

I don't usually chat about my job on this blog as respecting the privacy of my staff and students is essential. I'm happy to share the news about our participation in Maori Language Week. Some people wonder why we would bother teaching another language to students who have such difficulty with basic literacy. It is actually surprising how my students respond to learning Maori words and phrases. They are engaged and motivated, and will happily join in with waiata (songs) and listen to stories. Those that can talk will have a go at saying words, and some know the meaning of quite a lot of the Maori words we use routinely. We even programme greetings in Maori into the communication devices that three of my students use. 

I'm pleased to be a part of keeping a language alive. Indigenous languages are at such high risk of disappearing, and there was a recent National Geographic article (which I can't find to reference) that reported that indigenous languages around the world are dying out at an incredible rate. I certainly won't change the world with my little bunch of enthusiastic learners, but we're all having fun. 

Have a go at saying "hi" in Maori this week - "kia ora." 

You could see if you can learn a few colours in Maori. 

Ma - white
Pango- black
Kahurangi - blue
Whero - red 
Kowhai - yellow
Mawhero - pink
Tawa - purple
Parauri - brown
Kiwikiwi - grey 
Kikorangi - green 
Karaka - orange 

For pronunciation (very important), you will need to go for a wee internet hunt for a Maori pronunciation guide, which will not be hard to find. When I was training to be a teacher we had special tests on our pronunciation and some people were utterly hopeless, no matter how much drilling they got. I had a real talent for it and found it easy, fortunately. 

I wish I could share a video of my boys giving it heaps doing the Haka tomorrow. You won't even be able to imagine how fabulous, funny and moving it will be. 

Ka kite ano! 

Back to the usual stuff next time, I'm sure. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi sounds as if you are having a good week. Good luck for the haka tomorrow,I am sure they will all be stars.
Love Mum xxxxxxxx
PS look for Seth in the horses on TM xxxx