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Porse Bringing Te Reo Alive in Maori Language Week

Porse Bringing Te Reo Alive in Maori Language Week

New Zealand’s leading in-home childcare provider, PORSE is helping keep Te Reo alive supporting the Government’s initiative to encourage more Maori to participate in early childhood education.

In-Home Educator Priscilla Taniwha has brought Te Reo alive in her home and says she is seeing a growing resurgence of Te Reo in early childhood education.

Mrs Taniwha’s In-Home Te Reo programme has been in huge demand since she started with PORSE several months ago.

“A lot of families are looking for ECE that incorporates Maori culture. Not many in the early childhood sector speak fluent Te Reo, so I find my PORSE programme is very popular.”

It’s a language she feels a sense of duty in restoring, having spent six years as a teacher at Te Kohanga Reo before turning to In-Home Childcare where she now teaches her culture to the next generation.

“I learnt Te Reo through my grandma and now it’s my turn to hand it down to my children. If we can feed them the language from an early age it’s a beautiful thing, as a Maori it represents who we are as people. He aha koa he ite he pounamu – even though it is small it is a treasure.”

“Learning Te Reo in the home environment from a young age and where children can gain one-on-one teaching attention, is how Te Reo is most readily absorbed,” says Priscilla.

“As a Maori, Te Reo is our first language, our tikanga is our spirit (wairua). To teach our tamariki and mokopuna our Te Reo is to empower them – Whakamana ki tona mana.”

Parent Amy Whitehead shares Priscilla’s passion for Te Reo, and was looking for someone fluent in the language who could immerse her young daughter Titiwai in Maori culture.

“I wanted someone who would encourage the Maoritanga from someone experienced like Priscilla, which is why I chose an In-Home environment over a Kohanga setting because it offers more intimate whanau-based learning that will ease Titiwai gently into life and education.”

“I knew Priscilla was the right person, my daughter Titiwai warmed to her right away. As a result, Titiwai’s already learning waiata, Maori numeracy and literacy skills and that’s really valuable.”

The theme for this year’s Maori Language week is 'Te Kupu o te Wiki' - 'The Word of the Week’ and for Priscilla, her word of the week is ‘Manaakitanga’, which means ‘Caring’.

This week Priscilla and the children she cares for, Titiwai Whitehead, two and a half, Mala Manu, ten months, her two year old daughter Ngahiwi Phillips and one year old son Tamate Phillips are focussing on active movement ‘koringa hihiko’.

“It’s all about helping physical development through lots of waiata and dancing singalongs with the guitar.”

“It is sad awareness week only happens for a week, but if people learn a new word or two this week, then we’ve achieved something.”

PORSE Vision Strategist Kerry Henderson says Maori Language Week is vital in encouraging more M?ori to participate in Early Childhood Education.

“We have made it a priority to understand and value the identity, language and culture of M?ori children and their whanau.”

She said In-Home Maori Educator Priscilla is a leading example of the commitment to keeping Te Reo alive in the home.

Mrs Henderson says PORSE is supportive of the cultural identities of all children and aims to celebrate cultural differences and help children gain a positive awareness of their own culture and others.


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