Dream has never dimmed

A PASSION FOR TEACHING AND TE REO MAORI: Nanny Maude Brown with tamariki of Tau Toru from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Uri a Maui.

MAUDE Brown is a special kind of teacher.

She has a lifetime of experience no university degree can match.

The 82-year-old teacher has been called the “poutokomanawa” or the heart post, of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Uri a Maui, and is affecionately known as “Nanny Maude” or “Nan” to the many students and fellow teachers she has taught and worked with.

One thing that has remained paramount in her approach to teaching is her passion for te reo Maori.

For Nanny Maude, te reo Maori is not a novelty for one week or month each year.

It is her every day, her every hour and something she has kept alive since she was a child.

This is despite the challenge of growing up in an era when children were punished for speaking te reo in school.

Born in Rangiahua in the Wairoa district, and raised at Waimaha, Nanny Maude’s main language growing up was te reo Maori.

But back in 1867, the Native Schools Act had decreed that English was the “preferred language” to be used in the education of Maori children.

And by 1903, a nationwide policy had been implemented to ban or discourage te reo being spoken in the playground. A wide range of punishments, including use of the cane and strap, were used against children for speaking te reo at school.

Nanny Maude says some of the old people of that time could see their world was changing, and encouraged their children to attend school to learn English.

“I was raised by my grandparents, and the only language spoken in our whare was Maori.

“Because my Nanny could not speak very much English, I would assist her especially when we had to go to town.

“She would say to me, ‘Me huri koe ki te kura Pakeha — you must go the way of the Pakeha education’.

“So I went to school for a while but then she needed me to stay home with her.”

Work in shearing sheds

When Maude was 13 she went to work in the shearing sheds as a fleeco.

It was there she met her husband, Ihimaera Brown.

The couple were married when she was 17, and had 13 children together.

Despite not attending high school, Nanny Maude’s dream of one day becoming a teacher never dimmed.

“I always wanted to be a teacher. In the back of my mind I wanted to learn to teach because I hadn’t that opportunity when I was younger.

When the family lived at Matawai, she would go into the local school and help out. Then in 1970, the whanau moved to Manutuke, and Nanny Maude got a job working in the kitchen of the Rectory, the former Gisborne Boys’ High School boarding hostel.

She was there for 10 years, spending a lot of time interacting with rangatahi (youth), and finding the desire to teach was still with her.

In 1986 she began working in kohanga reo in Manutuke.

“I only stayed there for six months because another job came up at Manutuke School for the position of kaiarahi i te reo.

“I thought I’d give it a go and I got the job. I had no teaching experience, but I got the job because I could speak te reo.”

During her time at Manutuke School supporting the teaching of te reo, Nanny Maude was encouraged to be part of a group of Gisborne people who were taking a teacher training course in Waikato.

“We were the guinea pigs of this new programme. I thought to myself, ‘oh I’m too old’. Others around me said, ‘no you will be fine’.

“On our first day, we had to introduce ourselves and say where we had been educated. Everyone got up and said, ‘oh I went to so-and-so high school and so-and-so college’.

“I didn’t go to high school so when it was my turn to speak, I stood and said my pepeha, my whakapapa.

“I was lucky that all of the mahi was in te reo, so I could handle it.

Relief teaching

“For three years we went back and forth between Turanga and Waikato. During that time I decided I wanted to be a kaiarahi i te reo in relief teaching.

“But in that time I had learned what a teacher’s role was.”

Nanny Maude stayed at Manutuke School as a kaiarahi i te reo for six years.

In 1996 she went to Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Uri a Maui to relieve and has been there ever since.

“I am based in the Tau Toru (Year 3) class and I have my own little group of tamariki that I teach, within that class.”

Nanny Maude’s teaching goes beyond the strictures of the curriculum.

She takes the time to share her life experiences with the tamariki as well as traditional practices of her tipuna.

“I’ll teach the tamariki about planting a vegetable garden. I’ll tell them, ‘When you hear the little birds sing, that is the time for planting. Always have a karakia before you begin. Don’t harvest your puha until after November 1. Only then do you have a hakari (feast) from your maara (garden). And always give your best to your manuhiri (guests).’

“This is how I was brought up and that is what I teach our mokopuna.”

TKKM o Nga Uri a Maui celebrated its 24th birthday during Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori and Nanny Maude is one of the school’s longest serving staff members.

Now joining her on the teaching staff is one of her former tauira, Raniera Hauraki Watene,

He credits Nanny Maude as having a major influence on his life and the lives of others.

“She is the poutokomanawa of our kura. There is no limit to the aroha that we all have for her and we are lucky to have that kaumatua figure with us,” he said.

“Nan taught me from when I started at Nga Uri a Maui in 1999 and throughout my growth, she has always been a role model, whether that be in education, or in life in general.

“Now that I am a teacher, I’m just giving back what Nan has given me.

“When I think of Nan, I think of the whakatauki (proverb) — ‘Mau e te ukaipo, te rata puhi raukura’. Ukaipo is something that feeds and shelters. Nan is the ukaipo, she feeds us all of the matauranga (teachings), she keeps us covered and sheltered so we can grow to be as strong as the rata tree.”

Nanny Maude is grateful to her kura for creating a home for her, so she can continue her passion for teaching and fostering te reo Maori.

“Quite often they (students and teachers) will come and ask me for advice.

“I love to teach our mokopuna and it is all because of my reo why I am in this position.

“I always say to them, ‘Never forget your language. Kia kaha koutou ki te korero Maori, ahakoa te aha — be strong in speaking your reo, no matter what’.”

MAUDE Brown is a special kind of teacher.

She has a lifetime of experience no university degree can match.

The 82-year-old teacher has been called the “poutokomanawa” or the heart post, of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Uri a Maui, and is affecionately known as “Nanny Maude” or “Nan” to the many students and fellow teachers she has taught and worked with.

One thing that has remained paramount in her approach to teaching is her passion for te reo Maori.

For Nanny Maude, te reo Maori is not a novelty for one week or month each year.

It is her every day, her every hour and something she has kept alive since she was a child.

This is despite the challenge of growing up in an era when children were punished for speaking te reo in school.

Born in Rangiahua in the Wairoa district, and raised at Waimaha, Nanny Maude’s main language growing up was te reo Maori.

But back in 1867, the Native Schools Act had decreed that English was the “preferred language” to be used in the education of Maori children.

And by 1903, a nationwide policy had been implemented to ban or discourage te reo being spoken in the playground. A wide range of punishments, including use of the cane and strap, were used against children for speaking te reo at school.

Nanny Maude says some of the old people of that time could see their world was changing, and encouraged their children to attend school to learn English.

“I was raised by my grandparents, and the only language spoken in our whare was Maori.

“Because my Nanny could not speak very much English, I would assist her especially when we had to go to town.

“She would say to me, ‘Me huri koe ki te kura Pakeha — you must go the way of the Pakeha education’.

“So I went to school for a while but then she needed me to stay home with her.”

Work in shearing sheds

When Maude was 13 she went to work in the shearing sheds as a fleeco.

It was there she met her husband, Ihimaera Brown.

The couple were married when she was 17, and had 13 children together.

Despite not attending high school, Nanny Maude’s dream of one day becoming a teacher never dimmed.

“I always wanted to be a teacher. In the back of my mind I wanted to learn to teach because I hadn’t that opportunity when I was younger.

When the family lived at Matawai, she would go into the local school and help out. Then in 1970, the whanau moved to Manutuke, and Nanny Maude got a job working in the kitchen of the Rectory, the former Gisborne Boys’ High School boarding hostel.

She was there for 10 years, spending a lot of time interacting with rangatahi (youth), and finding the desire to teach was still with her.

In 1986 she began working in kohanga reo in Manutuke.

“I only stayed there for six months because another job came up at Manutuke School for the position of kaiarahi i te reo.

“I thought I’d give it a go and I got the job. I had no teaching experience, but I got the job because I could speak te reo.”

During her time at Manutuke School supporting the teaching of te reo, Nanny Maude was encouraged to be part of a group of Gisborne people who were taking a teacher training course in Waikato.

“We were the guinea pigs of this new programme. I thought to myself, ‘oh I’m too old’. Others around me said, ‘no you will be fine’.

“On our first day, we had to introduce ourselves and say where we had been educated. Everyone got up and said, ‘oh I went to so-and-so high school and so-and-so college’.

“I didn’t go to high school so when it was my turn to speak, I stood and said my pepeha, my whakapapa.

“I was lucky that all of the mahi was in te reo, so I could handle it.

Relief teaching

“For three years we went back and forth between Turanga and Waikato. During that time I decided I wanted to be a kaiarahi i te reo in relief teaching.

“But in that time I had learned what a teacher’s role was.”

Nanny Maude stayed at Manutuke School as a kaiarahi i te reo for six years.

In 1996 she went to Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Uri a Maui to relieve and has been there ever since.

“I am based in the Tau Toru (Year 3) class and I have my own little group of tamariki that I teach, within that class.”

Nanny Maude’s teaching goes beyond the strictures of the curriculum.

She takes the time to share her life experiences with the tamariki as well as traditional practices of her tipuna.

“I’ll teach the tamariki about planting a vegetable garden. I’ll tell them, ‘When you hear the little birds sing, that is the time for planting. Always have a karakia before you begin. Don’t harvest your puha until after November 1. Only then do you have a hakari (feast) from your maara (garden). And always give your best to your manuhiri (guests).’

“This is how I was brought up and that is what I teach our mokopuna.”

TKKM o Nga Uri a Maui celebrated its 24th birthday during Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori and Nanny Maude is one of the school’s longest serving staff members.

Now joining her on the teaching staff is one of her former tauira, Raniera Hauraki Watene,

He credits Nanny Maude as having a major influence on his life and the lives of others.

“She is the poutokomanawa of our kura. There is no limit to the aroha that we all have for her and we are lucky to have that kaumatua figure with us,” he said.

“Nan taught me from when I started at Nga Uri a Maui in 1999 and throughout my growth, she has always been a role model, whether that be in education, or in life in general.

“Now that I am a teacher, I’m just giving back what Nan has given me.

“When I think of Nan, I think of the whakatauki (proverb) — ‘Mau e te ukaipo, te rata puhi raukura’. Ukaipo is something that feeds and shelters. Nan is the ukaipo, she feeds us all of the matauranga (teachings), she keeps us covered and sheltered so we can grow to be as strong as the rata tree.”

Nanny Maude is grateful to her kura for creating a home for her, so she can continue her passion for teaching and fostering te reo Maori.

“Quite often they (students and teachers) will come and ask me for advice.

“I love to teach our mokopuna and it is all because of my reo why I am in this position.

“I always say to them, ‘Never forget your language. Kia kaha koutou ki te korero Maori, ahakoa te aha — be strong in speaking your reo, no matter what’.”

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