Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Meet the People - 28

Another in the Series Meet the People - Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things - Corban Te Aika (Ngai Tahu/Ngai Tuahuriri) is confident te reo Maori (Maori language) has changed his life. Taking a break from his duties as a tutor in Te Reo Maori and Maori Indigenous Studies at Canterbury University, he talks about the power of language immersion and the benefits of attending language programmes and workshops run by Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.
"My learning te reo was driven by a desire to learn more about myself, my heritage, my culture. My father is Maori but we never spoke te reo at home. For me, studying for my BA in te reo Maori and Political Science was a natural progression after my introduction to Maori language at high school. I haven't even graduated from university yet and it's already given me lots of opportunities," he says.
Corban, 19, has been attending Ngai Tahu's Kotahi Mano Kaika language workshop, Ka Pari Karakaraka for the last six years - six times in all - and he speaks highly of the positive impact they have had on his linguistic abilities. "The wanaka give you an opportunity to totally immerse yourself in all things te reo and Maori. I've found that a huge benefit. They put you in an environment where you are expected to speak te reo yet at the same time, it's a caring and encouraging environment where it's okay to make mistakes."
"Te reo Maori is in danger but Ngai Tahu's 25-year language strategy, driven by the vision of having te reo o Ngai Tahu spoken in 1,000 Ngai Tahu homes by 2025, is a terrific approach. It takes one generation to lose a language and three to get it back. I'm from the second generation of new learners and while we have a long way to go yet, the Kotahi Mano Kaika, Kotahi Mano Wawata initiative is an excellent one - and one that has definitely set the pathway to my future." www.ngaitahu.iwi.nz

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