Te reo should be compulsory

TENEI te mihi atu kia koutou,

Ko Miriama toku ingoa

E te kau ma ono oku tau

Ko Maungahaumi te Maunga

Ko Waipaoa te Awa

Ko Takitimu me Horouta oku waka

Ko Tapuihikitia te Marae

Ko Te Aitanga a Mahaki te iwi

I te taha o taku mama

Ko Hikurangi te Maunga

Ko Waiapu te Awa

Ko Horouta te Waka

Ko Rahui te Marae

Ko Ngati Porou te Iwi

I te taha o toku papa

Ko te mea mihi tuatahi kei te whakamihi ahau ki te Atua mo to manaaki i roto ki toku oranga

Ko te mea mihi tuarua tena koutou ki nga Kaiako me te Tumuaki me nga Tumaki Tuarua i roto i te kura o Ritana

Ko te mea mihi tuatoru tena koutou ki nga tangata katoa i roto i turanga-nui-a-kiwa

Marama Davidson Green Party MP asks if te reo Maori should be compulsory.

This is from ages five to 12. I have seen so many debates against te reo Maori becoming compulsory on Facebook but this isn’t coming from students who actually go to school, this is coming from adults who think they know what every student wants.

It came to a point where I thought that their debates were not right.

Maori isn’t just about the way we speak it and the way we sing it. That is how most people see it but I strongly believe that there is more to the Maori culture.

There are values that we have; such as manaakitanga (kindness), whanaungatanga which means establishing relationships with other people and being able to relate well to others — and then there’s the value of kotahitanga (unity).

All our values are important to us but these three are our main ones. Manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are our overarching school values at Mount Roskill Grammar School, yet how many students understand what those values mean and put them into action?

Students can be taught values. If teachers show these values, then students can see it and are taught how to show values. A teacher doesn’t necessarily have to be up the front of assembly talking for students to be learning something. They could be teaching something through the way they act.

As a year 12 student who passed year 11 Maori last year, I think it should become compulsory. The age group they are looking for Maori to be compulsory in is from ages five to 12, so if I can do that, so can other students and future students.

That could be like a pathway to learning the basics of te reo Maori. In year 10 you can do 200 word essays, two minute speeches and listening assessments all in Maori and this can be preparation towards NCEA level one, two and three.

Then going into NCEA level one you would be looking at excellence grades if you pay attention in school from ages 5 to 12.

It shouldn’t just be up to Kura Kaupapa Maori schools to teach it, because they generally teach Maori students who already know Te Reo Maori really well.

You have to be able to converse with teachers in Maori as well to go to a school that only teaches Maori.

As a primary kid I always wanted to learn how to speak Maori but I couldn’t because I went to a mainstream school where they only taught kapa haka and pepeha (genealogy), which for me wasn’t enough.

This leads me to my next point — loss of culture leaves Maori students lost. That’s what it did to me, it left me lost and I felt I was maumau i te reo Maori, which means a waste of Maori. I had no sense of culture and I was lost without it.

So many students out there know that they are Maori but don’t acknowledge it and it leaves them lost. It leaves them lost because they don’t know their own culture and when you don’t know your own culture, it leaves that one part of you missing. I know that for a fact because I went through it.

Once you have been through that, it will soon catch up with you.

If you feel lost because you don’t know who you are in terms of culture, my best recommendation is that you return to your turangawaewae (stomping grounds), which in another way for me is your home and your whenua (land).

This has helped me in many ways because when I went home I was able to express my culture through waiata (songs and singing) about my tipuna (ancestors). I was able to find myself in terms of culture through what I am passionate about, which is puoro (music) and going back home.

I have tried so hard not to be angry with other people’s viewpoints. The most common one is “you can’t force kids to learn it”.

I know there is a level of fairness in saying that but think about the year 12’s who sit in maths at least five times a week, tucked up in the corner just to do nothing in that whole period — all because they hate maths and also because they are forced to take it.

Adults think they know the views of students when really they don’t.

Times have changed in terms of schooling. We don’t have the strap and we won’t get caned for speaking te reo like in the old days.

Besides, you can’t say that kids can’t be forced to learn something because look at the international students in Mount Roskill Grammar School who are forced to learn our language. There are two international students I know, one of them barely knows our language but he tries and the other international student I know learned our language six years before living in Auckland.

Maori can lead into career paths too. It can direct you into a path of being a teacher, a kapa haka tutor or even a performer for kapa haka. It can lead you into being a Maori news reporter on shows such as Te Kaea and Te Karere as well as cultural advisory roles.

So having these as ideas for career paths is great because you want to be open to a lot of ideas, not just one because you want something to fall back on.

How many people do you see on the benefit receiving money from the government because they are not working?

So many people are struggling on the benefit, so many it isn’t funny. So I think that having Maori compulsory in schools will benefit the youth and future generations to come.

Maori should be a compulsory subject so we can stay true to what we say, when we say that Maori is one of our official languages. Yes Maori is one of our official languages but do people use it? Yes, people use it but not many.

The use of Maori language is dead and waiting to come alive. We can make Maori language come alive together. We have to start somewhere, why not together in schools?

Tuturu whakamaua kia tina, tina, haumi e, hui e, taiki e

No reira e te iwi tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

TENEI te mihi atu kia koutou,

Ko Miriama toku ingoa

E te kau ma ono oku tau

Ko Maungahaumi te Maunga

Ko Waipaoa te Awa

Ko Takitimu me Horouta oku waka

Ko Tapuihikitia te Marae

Ko Te Aitanga a Mahaki te iwi

I te taha o taku mama

Ko Hikurangi te Maunga

Ko Waiapu te Awa

Ko Horouta te Waka

Ko Rahui te Marae

Ko Ngati Porou te Iwi

I te taha o toku papa

Ko te mea mihi tuatahi kei te whakamihi ahau ki te Atua mo to manaaki i roto ki toku oranga

Ko te mea mihi tuarua tena koutou ki nga Kaiako me te Tumuaki me nga Tumaki Tuarua i roto i te kura o Ritana

Ko te mea mihi tuatoru tena koutou ki nga tangata katoa i roto i turanga-nui-a-kiwa

Marama Davidson Green Party MP asks if te reo Maori should be compulsory.

This is from ages five to 12. I have seen so many debates against te reo Maori becoming compulsory on Facebook but this isn’t coming from students who actually go to school, this is coming from adults who think they know what every student wants.

It came to a point where I thought that their debates were not right.

Maori isn’t just about the way we speak it and the way we sing it. That is how most people see it but I strongly believe that there is more to the Maori culture.

There are values that we have; such as manaakitanga (kindness), whanaungatanga which means establishing relationships with other people and being able to relate well to others — and then there’s the value of kotahitanga (unity).

All our values are important to us but these three are our main ones. Manaakitanga and whanaungatanga are our overarching school values at Mount Roskill Grammar School, yet how many students understand what those values mean and put them into action?

Students can be taught values. If teachers show these values, then students can see it and are taught how to show values. A teacher doesn’t necessarily have to be up the front of assembly talking for students to be learning something. They could be teaching something through the way they act.

As a year 12 student who passed year 11 Maori last year, I think it should become compulsory. The age group they are looking for Maori to be compulsory in is from ages five to 12, so if I can do that, so can other students and future students.

That could be like a pathway to learning the basics of te reo Maori. In year 10 you can do 200 word essays, two minute speeches and listening assessments all in Maori and this can be preparation towards NCEA level one, two and three.

Then going into NCEA level one you would be looking at excellence grades if you pay attention in school from ages 5 to 12.

It shouldn’t just be up to Kura Kaupapa Maori schools to teach it, because they generally teach Maori students who already know Te Reo Maori really well.

You have to be able to converse with teachers in Maori as well to go to a school that only teaches Maori.

As a primary kid I always wanted to learn how to speak Maori but I couldn’t because I went to a mainstream school where they only taught kapa haka and pepeha (genealogy), which for me wasn’t enough.

This leads me to my next point — loss of culture leaves Maori students lost. That’s what it did to me, it left me lost and I felt I was maumau i te reo Maori, which means a waste of Maori. I had no sense of culture and I was lost without it.

So many students out there know that they are Maori but don’t acknowledge it and it leaves them lost. It leaves them lost because they don’t know their own culture and when you don’t know your own culture, it leaves that one part of you missing. I know that for a fact because I went through it.

Once you have been through that, it will soon catch up with you.

If you feel lost because you don’t know who you are in terms of culture, my best recommendation is that you return to your turangawaewae (stomping grounds), which in another way for me is your home and your whenua (land).

This has helped me in many ways because when I went home I was able to express my culture through waiata (songs and singing) about my tipuna (ancestors). I was able to find myself in terms of culture through what I am passionate about, which is puoro (music) and going back home.

I have tried so hard not to be angry with other people’s viewpoints. The most common one is “you can’t force kids to learn it”.

I know there is a level of fairness in saying that but think about the year 12’s who sit in maths at least five times a week, tucked up in the corner just to do nothing in that whole period — all because they hate maths and also because they are forced to take it.

Adults think they know the views of students when really they don’t.

Times have changed in terms of schooling. We don’t have the strap and we won’t get caned for speaking te reo like in the old days.

Besides, you can’t say that kids can’t be forced to learn something because look at the international students in Mount Roskill Grammar School who are forced to learn our language. There are two international students I know, one of them barely knows our language but he tries and the other international student I know learned our language six years before living in Auckland.

Maori can lead into career paths too. It can direct you into a path of being a teacher, a kapa haka tutor or even a performer for kapa haka. It can lead you into being a Maori news reporter on shows such as Te Kaea and Te Karere as well as cultural advisory roles.

So having these as ideas for career paths is great because you want to be open to a lot of ideas, not just one because you want something to fall back on.

How many people do you see on the benefit receiving money from the government because they are not working?

So many people are struggling on the benefit, so many it isn’t funny. So I think that having Maori compulsory in schools will benefit the youth and future generations to come.

Maori should be a compulsory subject so we can stay true to what we say, when we say that Maori is one of our official languages. Yes Maori is one of our official languages but do people use it? Yes, people use it but not many.

The use of Maori language is dead and waiting to come alive. We can make Maori language come alive together. We have to start somewhere, why not together in schools?

Tuturu whakamaua kia tina, tina, haumi e, hui e, taiki e

No reira e te iwi tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa

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