CCC partners to teach free te reo Māori
20 November 2018
Ōtautahi City Council has partnered with Wigram restaurant Fush to offer free te reo Māori classes at the newly-opened Tūranga central city library.
Anyone, no matter what their level of ability in Aotearoa’s indigenous language, is welcome to attend.
The classes are designed to teach people the tools to make basic conversation in te reo in a fun, informal, and supportive environment.
The decision to provide the free lessons came after Councillor Anne Galloway invited Fush owner Anton Matthews to a local board meeting to speak about the overwhelmingly positive response he had with free classes he taught earlier this year.
At the meeting, Matthews told Councillor Vicky Buck about how he’d had thousands of people sign up. He wanted to do it again and needed a big venue.
“The response for our first lot of classes was totally overwhelming, in a fantastic way,” Matthews says.
“Our original plan was to host small sessions in our restaurant Fush but we ended up having hundreds of people at each class so had to relocate to the Christchurch Boys’ High School hall. It was awesome.
“What that showed me is that there’s a deep desire in Ōtautahi to learn te reo Māori. As someone who was brought up speaking the language but often felt alienated doing so in public, I’m passionate about ensuring te reo thrives and is celebrated in Aotearoa so my two children can speak it with pride.”
Councillor Buck suggested Matthews uses Tūranga, free of charge, to host his classes this time.
Classes start on Monday 26th of November and run from 8 to 9pm. There will be four classes every Monday up until Christmas, with the possibility of more next year depending on the public response.
“For te reo to be normalised in Aotearoa, we need more people to learn at least the basics,” Councillor Buck says.
“We’d love to make Ōtautahi the most te reo-proficient city in the country and ensure that the language becomes part of our everyday lives — whether that’s in the classroom, in the boardroom, or at the local takeaway shop.”
“We’re so grateful to have Anton volunteer his time and expertise. His passion for the language is infectious and everyone who attends the classes will be very lucky to have such a great kaiako.”
Anyone can register for the classes by simply clicking “Going” on this Facebook event page.
Matthews is designing the classes to be for absolute beginners, but will teach different content from what he taught earlier this year to ensure those who attended his previous classes will learn something new.